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The Internet Social Networks

Internet.org's Slave and Helicopter-Powered Internet 64

Posted by timothy
from the long-memory dept.
theodp writes "As reported earlier on Slashdot, Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday announced the launch of Internet.org, 'a global partnership with the goal of making internet access available to the next 5 billion people,' including 'those who cannot currently afford it.' So it's especially bizarre that just a few days ago, Internet.org carried a FAQ which joked that slaves were used to create an Internet for the Pharaohs. And until recently, Internet.org's home page sported a photo purporting to show that freighters are used to rush Internet porn to affluent residents of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, and an illustration showing how helicopters deliver Internet data to actor George Clooney's magnificent Lake Como Villa. So keep an eye on how your domain is used, kids, especially if you plan to use it soon to position yourself and your partners as saints who champion the right of the world's poor to Internet access."
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Internet.org's Slave and Helicopter-Powered Internet

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  • Oh come on... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epiphani (254981) <epiphaniNO@SPAMdal.net> on Thursday August 22, 2013 @12:59PM (#44644509)

    So the domain was owned by someone else, doing different things with it. Sounds like it was funny... or trying to be funny.

    Why do I care about this?

  • Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:00PM (#44644525)

    Honestly this matters so little it seems like a forced story trying to find something to smear Zuckerberg and his buddies. The organization bought the domain from a weirdo? That's important for such a short period of time that it's already meaningless. Must be a slow news day.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      I don't think it was ever important, actually.

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:08PM (#44644655) Homepage Journal

      And honestly, if you need to smear Zuckerberg, there's the fact that he runs Facebook.

    • by theodp (442580)

      According to the Venturebeat article, the domain was sold in Apr/May. The nyuk-nyuk content appears to have been added afterwards. Not to be a buzzkill, but if i was launching a serious website about using the web to improve the lot of the world's poor, i wouldn't want the domain used days earlier to goof that slave labor was used to create the internet for the whims of the wealthy. Just sayin'.

    • I don't get it, there's so much better to beat Zuckerberg up about, hacking on him for a previously used domain just looks desperate.

  • And so should everyone else. It's historical parody, and probably not that far from the truth when it comes to the Egyptian system of a few millenia ago -- surely Tutankhamen was the kid everyone in the neighborhood called for support. :)

  • by pla (258480) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:03PM (#44644565) Journal
    Call the feds, someone who legitimately owned the domain had a sense of humor! How dare they! Don't they know that every time we laugh, the terrorists win???

    Seriously, I rarely complain about stories on Slashdot, but... WTF, Slashdot? New owner of domain uses it differently than former owner. Film at 11.
  • By real news agencies and papers. The onion strikes again.
  • this is the guy whos sole interest in "the internet" as it stands in his portfolio of offerings is to ensure two billion people are capable of being catalogued as potential members of a cacophany of target demographics for sale to the highest bidder. For him to give two shits about the underprivileged masses who cannot afford a free-as-in-speech internet experience would be the event that shattered occhams razor. What he cares about is exactly what investors are stampeeding from in droves: emerging market
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Stuff that matters

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:15PM (#44644757)
    Does anyone else have this mental picture of rows and rows of network administrators chained to their routers, while a huge, shirtless man with brass bands on his biceps pounds on a large drum, and Mark Zuckerberg shouts down from above "Increase the drumbeat!!"? No? Just me?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I actually picture something along the lines of the Crimson Permanent Assurance, but rather than a building, you've got a bunch of sysadmins sailing about on a row of cabinets.

    • I was thinking of a legion of H1Bs running on human-size hamster wheels, providing the power required to keep Facebook's equipment going in third-world nations that don't have a reliable energy grid, or alternately to keep the California servers going without having to pay PG&E or buy/maintain solar equipment.

  • by dav1dc (2662425) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:29PM (#44644917) Homepage

    The idea sounds noble, but I have to wonder if free internet access is really the "greatest good" that we could be doing for these people in 2nd or 3rd worlds??

    Shore, the North Americas are tapped out in terms of new social media growth - we accept that fact.
    So let's tap into a previously un-tapped world of extremely poor people in under privileged parts of the world - Genius!

    But when these people likely don't have basics like clean drinking water and food - is a crippling social media addiction really going to benefit them so the FB stock price can rise a few cents??

    • Well social media is a proven way to start some great social unrest, in many of the 2nt world countries. Free open internet for all, means far more death and fighting, until people finally realize. Dude is is just some nut posting stuff, Don't let it bother you, if you ignore him then he doesn't have power over you.

    • by artfulshrapnel (1893096) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @02:09PM (#44645455)

      There actually have been some studied connected to the OLPC project that suggest internet access is incredibly valuable to people in developing nations, but not for the reasons you're thinking.

      These people we're talking about might be 150 miles from the nearest library with a full set of encyclopedias; for that matter, they might not even know how to read. How good do you think their agricultural practices are, given that level of background knowledge? When presented with the challenge of cleaning their drinking water, how far do you think they get? How about diagnosing diseases, planning for weather, or being aware of potential politcal danger? Do you think they could do a bit better at those things given access to Wikipedia, WebMD, Instructables, Reuters and YouTube?

      On the same route, perhaps they could even begin to improve their own infrastructure given a bit of access to the world of modern industry? Maybe a small village could save up to invest in a solar array, and have lights inside at night? Or a water purifier so they don't die of cholera anymore?

      Knowledge is power, the internet is distributed knowledge. It could do a lot more to help people than a bit of financial aid or temporary food supplies might.

      • by dav1dc (2662425)

        These people we're talking about might be 150 miles from the nearest library with a full set of encyclopedias; for that matter, they might not even know how to read.

        So they can't read books at a library, but they can read printed text on the Internet - THAT REALLY IS AN AMAZING BENEFIT AFTER ALL!! ^_^

        • Or they could get laptops that are set to speak aloud and accept speech input. Or they could be be pre-configured with shortcuts to online language learning programs, allowing literacy to spread. Or they could rely more heavily on video, which can be incredibly helpful as a learning tool for people who are barely literate but have rudimentary written language skills. Need I go on with really easy solutions?

          As a real world example:
          http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506466/given-tablets-but-no-teachers-ethi [technologyreview.com]

          • by dav1dc (2662425)

            And all of your suggestions are great - but none of them actually appear in Internet.org's manifesto.

            Unless Internet.org plans to send computers pre-configured for text-2-voice to third world countries - those illiterate children would once again be faced with the burden of reading instructions to figure out how to set that up. It's a simple chicken & egg problem.

            To quote an Episode of Archer regarding philanthropies:

            “Nourish A Child, Shoe A Child, Bespectacled a Child, One Laptop Per Child Soldie

            • Except, as noted and described in that article I linked, there are already some deployments in place that accomplish exactly this. They successfully allowed illiterate children to not only learn basic written english, but also to learn the tablet technology to a level that they were able to override system-level modifications made by the admins who set them up.

              Also as awesome as Archer is, I don't think it exactly qualifies as a reliable source for geopolitical fact. Most warlords would likely have very lit

              • by dav1dc (2662425)

                I accept your rebuttal - but I'm still waiting for a citation that maps what you are describing to what is actually happen in the article.

      • by ArhcAngel (247594)

        There actually have been some studied connected to the OLPC project that suggest internet access is incredibly valuable to people in developing nations, but not for the reasons you're thinking.

        You're right that's not the reason [slashdot.org] I was thinking.

  • Damn helicopters are quite an upgrade to transmission of IP via avian carrier, but, I am not sure its a very smart one, as carrier drops could be very expensive.

  • From internet.org:

    No one should have to choose between access to the internet and food or medicine.

    If you are really having to decide between those basic items or internet access, I think there may be some more important things to put your last few dollars toward besides streaming cat videos.

    • Some folks use Internet services to make a living. It could be something like: Do I pay for my medicine now, and hope I can get back online later, or do I stick out the sickness for another few weeks so I can make enough to afford both medicine and net access even though it might kill me? Microloans, and even cellular payments are big in the 2nd and 3rd worlds. Things like the Mechanical Turk exist.

    • I think that's his point: Nobody should have to choose between accessing the world's repository of knowledge and buying food. If we can give them both, maybe they can use that big pile of information to improve their lives in more meaningful, long lasting ways.

      http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506466/given-tablets-but-no-teachers-ethiopian-children-teach-themselves/ [technologyreview.com]

      There have been some studies on this that show how much people can improve their lives by getting access to the knowledge we take for granted

    • You'd think so, but there are people who will buy games from Steam while the larder is empty and their kids are hungry (and yes, the social know and aren't even investigating). I'm not saying you're wrong (you're absolutely right), but the number of people who can't make even these basic moral decisions is probably pretty staggering.
  • by artfulshrapnel (1893096) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:57PM (#44645279)

    Incredibly generic website name had former owner, who at one point posted jokes. More at 11.

    I don't even really get why this would be in poor taste? The idea that egyptians used slaves as labor is pretty much accepted as fact, and seems to be in safe territory for a joke to me (despite recent studies that suggest most of the meaningful labor in ancient Egypt was actually done by paid workers). And shocker, there is pornography on the internet; can we not make jokes about that anymore?

    I really don't get what all the fuss is about, even if Zuckerburg were somehow actually connected to the content the site formerly hosted.

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @01:58PM (#44645289)

    Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday announced the launch of Internet.org, 'a global partnership with the goal of making internet access available to the next 5 billion people,' including 'those who cannot currently afford it.'

    Facebook Update #247: Location: Ethiopia: Still no potable water, hoping that clicking "Like Brita filters" helps soon.

    • by artfulshrapnel (1893096) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @02:15PM (#44645503)

      Facebook update #248: Location: Ethiopia: Thanks to user NamibiaYOLO33 who sent me to that Instructables article. We're making some carbon filters from our firewood ashes tomorrow to see if they work!

      Facebook update #253 Location: Ethiopia: Wow, no cholera for a week! Who knew we were throwing away valuable filtering supplies every day? Next up, I think we can take the alternator from that broken down bus outside down and make a wind generator, so we can work at night.

      Just because you think that social media is useless doesn't mean everyone does. There are some parts of the world where a bit of knowledge sharing could go miles.

      • Your example(s) show that the Internet can be a valuable resource, not Facebook. Zuckerberg is only interested in the latter.
        • See, you say that as though it was fact, but I don't see any evidence of that anywhere in their stated goals or intended actions. They want to bring the Internet to people, and I can't see any way to give them Facebook without giving them everything else as well. Though I'm certain he sees the chance to expand Facebook as a welcome bonus, how much revenue do you really think he intends to extract from people who can't even afford internet access? Targeted ads to southern Nigerian farmers aren't going to be

        • Whether you like it or not, facebook is a means for people to connect and communicate with other people. Some of those people will use it to spread knowledge, thus making facebook valuable. Most will use it to spread entertainment, which believe it or not poor people also like to have to make their lives feel less dreary.
  • Oh, biblical jokes about Pharoah using Israelite slaves to build the modern Internet gets its own thread, but biblical jokes about Pharaoh and modern chemical weapons to free Israelite slaves [slashdot.org] gets downmodded to oblivion.

    You all are disgusting anti-memeites!

  • Crank the Facebook user base to 7 billion.
  • So he's creating a domain/website to host content which is going to help the 3rd world who dont have internet access?
    reminds me of those Facebook posts where you like a picture of a starving child because that helps them.
  • Here is the old page on the way back machine if you want to see it -- http://web.archive.org/web/20130806180833/http://www.internet.org/ [archive.org]

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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