A Twitter storm erupted in India following a tweet posted by Marc Andreessen -- venture capitalist and a Facebook board of director. In his post, Andreessen likened net neutrality to "anti-colonialism" and reasoned that the country was an "economic catastrophe" post-Independence, indicating the situation would have been better had they been pro-colonialism. Though he deleted the tweet, the damage had already been done.
Andreessen's knee-jerk reaction came after TRAI, the Indian Telecom regulator, prohibited Facebook's Free Basics initiative in the country, where the company had invested heavily in advertising the program.
After heavy criticism from Indians, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg distanced himself and his company from Andreessen's comments while calling it "deeply upsetting."
"I want to respond to Marc Andreessen's comments about India yesterday. I found the comments deeply upsetting, and they do not represent the way Facebook or I think at all," Zuckerberg said in his Facebook post.
"India has been personally important to me and Facebook. Early on in my thinking about our mission, I travelled to India and was inspired by the humanity, spirit and values of the people. It solidified my understanding that when all people have the power to share their experiences, the entire world will make progress," he added.
"We strongly reject the sentiments expressed by Marc Andreessen last night regarding India," Facebook told The New York Times.
The Free Basics of Facebook was an initiative via its Internet.org that saw the company partnering with Internet providers and specifically with Reliance Telecom in India to provide free access to specific websites selected by Facebook. But Free Basics and similar services had been blamed for net neutrality violations. Several petitions and media articles argued for net neutrality in India.
Andreessen's replies have been put together in the tweet below: