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Do a jihad for independent internet, oppose Facebook Basics: Paytm's Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Paytm founder Sharma said India's digital independence is threatened by the world's largest social network

BS Reporter  |  Bengaluru 

Do a jihad for independent internet, oppose Facebook Basics: Paytm's Vijay Shekhar Sharma

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of digital wallet-turned-e-commerce firm Paytm, on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on Facebook's campaign for its internet access programme, calling for a 'jihad' to save a free internet without any corporate agendas. 

Sharma said India's digital independence is threatened by the world's largest social network, tweeting, somewhat dramatically, "Oh my fellow Indians, either choose this and do a jihaad for independent internet later or pick today." 

on Tuesday launched a missed call campaign in Indian newspapers asking users across India to support its campaign -- formerly known as the project -- that allows subscribers not not to pay for data charges to telecom service providers.

"I am surprised that we in this time and age might get our digital independence threatened. All for #NetNeutrality," Sharma said on Twitter, adding "Open and out. Internet won't be equal for all.  Divides our country into digital haves & have nots ! #NetNeutrality." 

Last week, took a leaf out of the activists' book to use emails to launch a public campaign addressed to India's telecom regulator to push for its project that allows telecoms free internet access to apps such as

The campaign 'Act Now to Save in India' asks users to send a message on their behalf to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India with a subject line that reads "I support in India."

The message reads: "To the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, I support digital equality for India. provides free access to essential internet services like communication, education, healthcare, employment, farming and more. It helps those who can't afford to pay for data, or who need a little help getting started online. And it's open to all people, developers and mobile operators. With 1 billion Indian people not yet connected, shutting down would hurt our country's most vulnerable people. I support - and digital equality for India. Thank you."

The campaign is run on the social networking site which has over 130 million users in India, its second largest user base globally.

On Monday, in a note to Re/code said that it had mistakenly launched the emailer campaign outside India.

First Published: Tue, December 22 2015. 11:54 IST
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