No, Changing Your Facebook Profile Pic Doesn’t Mean You Support Internet.org

DoThe Best
By DoThe Best September 29, 2015 12:22

No, Changing Your Facebook Profile Pic Doesn’t Mean You Support Internet.org

Doing the rounds on social media yesterday was a controversial story that changing one’s profile photo to the Indian tri-color to support the Digital India initiative covertly counted as a vote for Facebook’s Internet.org campaign.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed his support for PM Modi’s Digital India initiative, with a profile picture change emblazoned with the Indian tri-colour, ahead of his townhall meeting with the Indian Prime Minister on Sunday. Many others followed suit, include Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself. Facebook even released a tool where anyone can show they are “helping transform India into a digitally empowered society” by simply changing their Facebook profile pic. It wasn’t long before all hell broke lose on the Internet and self-proclaimed activists were claiming anyone changing their profile pic using the tool was covertly support Facebook’s Internet.org – now called Free Basics – initiative, which violates Net Neutrality principles.

“But just before clicking submit I checked the source code of the page. Wow! there I can see the style class named as “internetOrgProfilePicture_prideAvatar”. I don’t think this is accidental. So what I am promoting here? Internet.org or digital india campaign,” he wrote.

This story went viral on a number of media outlets, which arrived at the same erroneous conclusion. Facebook basically said as much, saying it was a mistake by the engineer who used the wrong shorthand name in the Web code. The company’s statement reads:

“There is absolutely no connection between updating your profile picture for digital India and Internet.org. An engineer mistakenly used the words “Internet.org profile picture” as a shorthand name he chose for part of the code. But this product in no way connects to or registers support for Internet.org. We are changing the code today to eliminate any confusion.”

DoThe Best
By DoThe Best September 29, 2015 12:22
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