Facebook disagrees with Google on net neutrality

12 Aug 2010

Social networking giant Facebook – the second most visited site in the world after Google – has slammed the search giant’s tack on net neutrality and has called for an open internet open to innovators, regardless of size or wealth.

The social network said last night that preserving an open internet for all wired and wireless networks is paramount.

On Monday Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon, introduced a joint proposal on net neutrality that takes the form of a suggested legislative framework for consideration by law-makers, and is laid out here.

The proposed framework, they say, gives the FCC a role carefully tailored for the new world of broadband, while also allowing broadband providers the flexibility to manage their networks and provide new types of online services.

However, the proposal has been dubbed a “doomsday scenario” by critics who say they believe Google has betrayed the principles of net neutrality. Google vehemently denies this and Schmidt has said Google continues to believe in an open internet where broadband providers cannot priortise the traffic of certain companies.

Enter the social network

Last night Facebook rowed in and appeared to take Google to task, particularly over any moves to have separate policy for wired and wireless networks.

“Facebook continues to support principles of net neutrality for both landline and wireless networks,” the company said.

“Preserving an open internet that is accessible to innovators — regardless of their size or wealth — will promote a vibrant and competitive marketplace where consumers have ultimate control over the content and services delivered through their Internet connections.”

This is one debate that is not going to go away now that Facebook has entered the arena. As one of the world’s most visited sites and one that will be basing its future growth heavily on the rise and rise of smartphones, its views are worth noting.

In the past month Facebook passed through the 500 million user milestone, which includes 1.7 million users in Ireland. The company is tipped to make US$800m in advertising next year.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years