Tech Companies Making Money With A No-Profit – Internet.Org

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The project Internet.Org has recently been announced by Mark Zuckerberg, who made clear his aim to bring 5 billion people onto Facebook. Seven companies, led by the Founder and CEO of Facebook, have formed a group whose aim is to bring internet access to two thirds of the world’s population.

In this way “the founding members of internet.org — Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung — will develop joint projects, share knowledge, and mobilize industry and governments to bring the world online.” As the homepage states “Internet.org is a global partnership between technology leaders, nonprofits, local communities and experts who are working together to bring the internet to the two thirds of the world’s population that still don’t have it. Sharing tools, resources and best practices, Internet.org partners will explore solutions in three major opportunity areas: affordability, efficiency, and business models.”

This isn’t the first time that Mark Zuckerberg has launched a campaign in order to support an idea, vision or project. The world leaders in the mobile market, an area in which Facebook is looking to succeed, have joined to gather to fight a “noble” cause – the spread of internet access all over the world. What might seem a great opportunity for humankind, also turns to be another chance to make billions of dollars.

Facebook needs to expand their new platform, Facebook Home, in order to succeed in this new emerging market. In the future, people that can’t access internet now, will use cheap mobile phones. Similarly, companies such as Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcum, Opera and Mediatek are heading towards this market, which is going to be massive in regions that haven’t yet gotten connected to the Internet.

The more people are connected, the more money those companies will make. That’s the plan, because at the end of the day, the Internet is just another source of revenue. Although having 5 billion people connected to the Internet might seem a good plan, we are surprised to hear that they are using a not-for-profit model, but clearly they forgot the real meaning of the word, which we are going to underline below, thanks to Wikipedia:

A nonprofit organization (US and UK),[1] or not-for-profit organization (UK and others), often called an NPO or simply a nonprofit and non-commercial organization (Russia and CIS[citation needed]), often called an NCO, is an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends. States in the United States defer to the IRS designation conferred under United States Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c), when the IRS deems an organization eligible.

If they wanted to make more money by funding a group, they could have just founded a company with equal equity share between the members, whose aim would have been to provide internet access all over the world. Why would you use a not-for-profit model? It’s simple. With an NPO your image as a public company is pristine and perfect. It looks you are doing something good for the human race, but on the other hand you want to sell your product to the people who are not connected.

Capitalism can be good or bad, but in this case they have really crossed the line. I personally hope that companies such as Wikimedia and the Free Software Foundation will last forever, because they deserve to be alive.

Edoardo Moreni

Blogger, Political Activist, Computer Scientist and Italian.