'India would have been better off under British rule'

Facebook board member Marc Andreessen claims TRAI’s decision of nixing differential pricing is an anti-colonialist idea

New York: Facebook board member Marc Andreessen yesterday set off a controversy by terming India’s decision to bar discriminatory internet tariff as an ‘anti-colonialist’ idea and said the country would have been better off if it remained under British rule.

Andreessen's original Tweet that was deleted following the uproar
Andreessen's original Tweet that was deleted following the uproar

Andreessen, one of Silicon Valley’s foremost venture capitalists, and his partner Benedict Evans took to Twitter to vent out their frustration about telecom regulator TRAI banning Facebook’s Free Basics and other such plans that charge different rates for Internet access based on content.

Andreessen, or @pmarca as he’s known on Twitter, wrote: “Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now? Another in a long line of economically suicidal decisions made by the Indian government against its own citizens. Denying world’s poorest free partial internet connectivity, when today they have none, for ideological reasons, strikes me as morally wrong.”

His partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Evans, who uses the handle @BenedictEvans, chimed in: “It’s a terrible thing to offer people with no money the choice of something free.”

The comments drew sharp criticism from netizens with some calling Facebook’s Free Basics plan as internet colonialism. Following the backlash, Andreessen deleted his post and tweeted an apology if his earlier tweets had offended Indian history and politics.    

The apology

@pmarca I apologize for any offense caused by my earlier tweet about Indian history and politics. I admire India and the Indian people enormously.

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