"To be fair to the websites changing their policies on reader comments, I've read the given reasons why they stopped doing so and many of them are NOT saying they are doing it to further reader conversation and interactions."
I've been studying this pretty closely and I've yet to see one website be totally honest about this and not, in some form, try to claim that muzzling their audience opens up broader conversational opportunities.
"I'm not so sure that it's due to thinking that their customers are idiots, so much as knowing that most of their customers flat out have no other option. You can do whatever you want, treat your customers as abysmally as you feel like if you know that there's no competing company/service that they can go to."
Totally agree, but even that has limits.
Time Warner Cable tried to cap all of its users in 2009, and despite being stuck in uncompetitive broadband markets the absolute stink customers raised caused the company to totally reverse course.
"Those poor folks in other countries are better off without any Internet than a limited version provided free by Facebook."
Again, that's a false choice. Facebook doesn't operate in a vacuum. Wanting them to deliver the REAL Internet and encryption capabilities (which has countless benefits, of which I don't need to go in to) does not somehow automatically equate to wanting all of India's poor to go to hell without Internet.
"You're way off on this one Karl. Facebook certainly has commercial interests but I don't see anyone else with similar resources extending access to the unconnected billions."
Microsoft just announced plans to deploy white space broadband to 500,000 Indian villages in conjunction with the government. Google just announced plans to deploy free Wi-Fi to 400 Indian train stations.
"The US & Indian telecommunications regulatory environment are very different."
Sure are. The Indian government's initial report just got done declaring Facebook's zero rating ambitions are "collusion," where as in the US, we think the horrible precedent set by zero rating is just nifty.
"Yes, it's a commercial service so Facebook gets to make decisions about it. Get over it."
Gosh, guess that settles it and I'll just go in the corner and never talk about potential horrible precedents anymore since this is all apparently settled and Facebook is in the right. :)
"walled garden or no garden, which do you say is better?"
Telling people they need to choose Facebook's way or get nothing at all is a false choice.
Facebook doesn't operate in a vacuum, there's a huge amount of subsidized services being proposed that give access to the REAL Internet (Microsoft just announced the deployment of White Space broadband to 500,000 villages, Google just announced free Wi-Fi at train stations).
Because you don't like what Facebook's proposing doesn't mean you're effectively telling India's poor to go to hell.
There's an endless number of ISPs doing this now. Wire a few high-end developments, then market the hell out of "gigabit" speeds even though a few hundred or thousand (out of millions) of your customers can actually even get it.
Right. Except there is ABSOLUTELY NO REAL INDICATION of any carrier seriously scaling back investment due to net neutrality. None. Short term or long. It was a bunch of crying and hand waving over some very basic rules of the road prohibiting anti-competitive behavior.
And consumers aren't necessarily opposed to usage-based pricing. They're opposed to what the broadband industry is currently doing: which is taking already expensive existing flat-rate pricing and layering it with entirely new caps and overages.
Or in Comcast's case charging these users an additional $30 to avoid these overages.
Nobody would oppose real value-driven usage-based pricing, since most people would probably pay $10 a month for broadband. But the industry won't offer that kind of pricing for obvious reasons.