Careful with the allegations of imperialist attitudes
Now, even if you find Facebook the company a self-serving, sanctimonious and creepy organisation – as I do – the decision is troubling, as it suggests that colonial thinking is alive and well, particularly amongst the Whole Earth-shopping chattering classes.
The campaign against free internet implies that the poor are too stupid to be allowed a choice, and must be saved from making that choice.
India is the world's largest democracy. They can cope with a few lobbyists and come to their own decisions. It is the assumption that those former colonials are somehow unable to sort through the arguments and come to their own decision that shows contempt to the people and government of India. If the allegation that the ban removes the decision from India's hands then why do they protest so loudly when India makes that decision for itself. The US foreign policy version of democracy ("Do whatever you like provided we agree with you") is a sham, not people coming to their own decisions about issues that affect heir own communities. No, they have looked at the issue and made a decision. That is their right and their right alone.
I can't even say I disagree with them, although I don't have strong feelings either way. Some of the technical restrictions are arbitrary at best - for example a blanket cap on the size of images regardless of whether it is a small icon or a company logo on one hand or a photo of a painting for arts education or a highly complex technical illustration on the other. Far from allowing Indians to trade with each other, the restrictions on encryption and requiring content to be cacheable effectively make that impossible. Oh, you'll be able to get around that, just give give Facebook their 15%. No you don't have any choice in that, because you can't afford to forget those 300 million users on the platform in your home market. Nor can they switch to an alternative platform, since those are now premium services and the cost of them has risen out of reach.
Take off the rose tinted spectacles and it is not a no brainer, as Orlowski admits this is not being done out of altruism. It shows nothing but those very imperialist attitudes if you believe that India is somehow unable to weigh the pros and cons and come to an informed decision.