Facebook 'strongly rejects' Marc Andreessen's comments on India and its free internet program

Facebook is distancing itself from the comments of board member Marc Andreessen, who infuriated people on Twitter Tuesday night with his comments about the social network’s “Free Basics” program in India.

Free Basics provides limited internet services at no cost to people in developing countries, and after Indian regulators blocked the program, Andreessen criticised the country’s decision on Twitter.

When entrepreneur and venture capitalist Vikram Chachra replied that it sounded like Andreessen was justifying “internet colonialism,” Andreessen responded in this now-deleted tweet:

Although he later apologised, Facebook still clearly felt the need to distance itself from that point of view.

“We strongly reject the sentiments expressed by Marc Andreessen last night regarding India,” a spokesperson says.

Critics of Facebook’s Free Basics program say that it creates a ghettoized version of the internet for poor people. Motherboard’s Derek Mead even compared it to internet colonialism last year, writing that it lets Facebook shape people’s introductions to the internet.

Andreessen apologised for his comments Tuesday evening, and issued a second apology Wednesday:

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