Social networking giant Facebook has spent an estimated Rs 300 crore to advertise its Free Basics campaign in India, Mint reported. The company reportedly spent the highest on print ads – anywhere between Rs 180-200 crore. A Facebook spokesperson said, "We're aiming to get the facts out to as many people as possible, whether they're connected today or will be in the future."
The Advertising Standards Council of India has written to the company accusing it of making "misleading claims" in the ads, after receiving a number of complaints from consumers, the report said. With Free Basics, Facebook aims to provide free access to what it considers essential Internet services. The zero-rating tariff model would allow telecom companies to offer free Internet data to access select websites.
The initiative has been criticised by activists supporting net neutrality, according to which all content on the Internet must be treated equally. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India last month floated a consultation paper on differential data pricing, with the last date for submitting comments being January 14.