Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook help bring the Internet to Asia and Africa.

Mark Zuckerberg Defends Free Internet At New Delhi Town Hall On Day Trump Denies H1-B Visa Slam

At the CNBC Republican Presidential Debate held in Colorado last night, as reported by the Inquisitr, Rebecca Quick questioned Donald Trump about “being critical” of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has wanted to make more H1-B visas available to workers in Silicon Valley.

“I was not at all critical of him,” Donald Trump stated about Zuckerberg.

Yet, Trump’s campaign website contains language that could easily be construed as being critical.

“This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program. Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities.”

Rebecca Quick asked Trump, where did I come up with this?

Trump responded, “I don’t know. You people write this stuff. I don’t know…” The audience burst into laughter, seemingly empathizing with Trump.

Yet, when Quick directly quoted the “Marco Rubio being Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator” euphemism from Donald Trump’s very own website, Trump continued to deny that he felt that way.

“I never said that,” Trump appeared genuinely incredulous. He looked at Rubio to his right, seemingly for support.

Earlier in the day, according to the Winnipeg Free Press, Mark Zuckerberg appeared at a town hall meeting in New Delhi, India.

Zuckerberg reported that Facebook has implemented its Free Basics platform for 15 million users in Asia and Africa, mostly using Android devices. The Free Basics programs is reportedly available in 24 countries.

The Facebook CEO spoke about alleviating suffering in India through the spread of knowledge that has the potential to positively impact the economy.

Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook provide Free Basics Internet service.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
Free Basics provides scaled-down access to the Internet, that some say too-heavily favors Facebook. Zuckerberg rejects criticism of the system, reportedly stating, “you cannot provide the whole Internet for free.”

“If you have a student who is getting free access to the Internet to help do her homework, and she wouldn’t have had access otherwise, who’s getting hurt there?” Zuckerberg was quoted.

There are said to be 300 million Internet users in India with 130 million Facebook users. Even with numbers like this, one billion Indians are said to lack any Internet access whatsoever.

Zuckerberg was quoted by CNN as speaking about the “moral obligation” of Facebook to expand Internet access in poverty stricken areas.

“What Zuckerberg means by Internet for all, is essentially Facebook for all,” Nikhil Pahwa with MediaNama was quoted by CNN.

Zuckerberg defends free Internet in India.
Marco Rubio and Donald Trump at the CNBC Republican debate. [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
Zuckerberg is adamant that Facebook supports net neutrality; he faces a challenging proposition in India, a country with a booming tech sector, as well as widespread poverty and famine.

“Most of the folks that are pushing for net neutrality have access to the Internet already,” Mark Zuckerberg was quoted. “But the people who are not yet on the Internet can’t sign an online petition pushing for increased access to the Internet.”

Free Basics, says Zuckerberg, has introduced the Internet to a million Indians who otherwise wouldn’t have had access.

Still, opponents say that giving Indians and others just part of the Internet isn’t good enough. Pahwa cited a responsibility to give people without access to the Internet the freedom to use the “whole Internet.”

The issue of giving free access to the poor is surprisingly divisive in India. The small number of Indians who currently consume the most Internet bandwidth want the Indian government to enact new laws banning the provision of free Internet for the poor, according to the New York Times.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is reportedly enthusiastic about getting as many Indians online as possible. He has met with Zuckerberg to discuss Free Basics and Facebook’s role in taking India online.

Zuckerberg explained that many Indians who first come online with Free Basics quickly upgrade to paid subscriptions, presumably sometimes because of the cost-savings associated with the efficiencies afforded with Internet usage. The idea is said to have the possibility to “transform” India.

[Feature Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images]

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