Facebook director apologises for ‘colonialism’ remark, Zuckerberg calls it upsetting

Twitter where the Net Neutrality debate has often been fairly acrimonious, saw a not-so innocuous tweet from Venture Capitalist Marc Andreessen, which has angered many.

By: Tech Desk | Updated: February 11, 2016 11:02 am
Marc Andreessen, Marc Andreessen tweet, Marc Andreessen colonialism tweet, Facebook, Facebook investor tweet, Facebook tweet, Facebook Free Basics tweets, Facebook Free Basics, TRAI, Net Neutrality, Net Neutrality in India Mark Andresssen’s tweet on Facebook, Free Basics and colonialism that has angered Indians on Twitter.

Update: Mark Zuckerberg is not at all happy with Marc Andreessen’s comment and has personally responded to the remarks.

In a post early Thursday morning, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Andreessen’s views do not represent that of Facebook and that he was ‘deeply upset’ by his remarks.

“I want to respond to Marc Andreessen’s comments about India yesterday. I found the comments deeply upsetting, and they do not represent the way Facebook or I think at all. India has been personally important to me and Facebook. Early on in my thinking about our mission, I traveled to India and was inspired by the humanity, spirit and values of the people. It solidified my understanding that when all people have the power to share their experiences, the entire world will make progress.” 

“Facebook stands for helping to connect people and giving them voice to shape their own future. But to shape the future we need to understand the past. As our community in India has grown, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the need to understand India’s history and culture. I’ve been inspired by how much progress India has made in building a strong nation and the largest democracy in the world, and I look forward to strengthening my connection to the country,” Zuckerberg said.

Andreessen has also apologised for the remarks saying, “Last night on Twitter, I made an ill-informed and ill-advised comment about Indian politics and economics. To be clear, I am 100% opposed to colonialism, and 100% in favor of independence and freedom, in every country, including India. I am a huge admirer of the nation of India and the Indian people, who have been nothing but kind and generous to me for many years. I apologize for any offense my comment caused, and withdraw it in full and without reservation. I will leave all future commentary on all of these topics to people with more knowledge and experience than me.”


TRAI’s decision to ban zero-rating platforms in India might have evoked much relief and joy for Net Neutrality activists and SaveTheInternet.in supporters in the country, but it seems not everyone is happy.

Twitter, where the Net Neutrality debate has often been fairly acrimonious, saw a not-so innocuous tweet from Marc Lowell Andreessen, Amercian entrepreneur and founder of the venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz. He is also on the board of Facebook as a director.

Andreessen, who tweets at @pmarca, had this to say about the whole TRAI order and Free Basics ban: “Anti-colonialism has been catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now.

The Venture capitalist later deleted his tweet, and said that he was withdrawing himself “from all future discussions of Indian economics or politics.” He added that he was “opposed to colonialism, in any country.”


Check out his tweets below:

But for Andreessen, the apology if one can call it that, came a tad too late and even though he had deleted the tweet, a screenshot of it was widely being shared on Twitter.

The tweet has already been interpreted as a support for colonialism by the VC founder, and many pointed out on the social media site that he had no idea of the oppressive colonial regime in India under the British.

Below are some reactions to his tweet

Read more: TRAI’s differential pricing verdict and what it means for Net Neutrality

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  1. A
    Abhinav Gour
    Feb 10, 2016 at 3:07 pm
    They wanted to Capture our Internet
    1. R
      Feb 10, 2016 at 10:07 am
      "Hindu rate of growth" always annoys me! That is the rate of growth during that foolish agnostic Nehru's socialism. What you should be calling Hindu rate of growth is the record high growth under Vajpayee, and the one under Modi which is currently on the verge of surping China to become the fastest rate of growth in the world. Andreeson is just a moron who is upset that the Indian govt shut down his company's opportunity to destroy net neutrality.
      1. B
        Bruno Andersen
        Feb 11, 2016 at 5:43 pm
        There is definitely a respect deficit toward India on the part of westerners, especially ones who have worked in India and China and compare the two. I think the Indian government needs to try to do a better job of promoting India success stories abroad to dispel misconceptions.
        1. S
          Satya Paul
          Feb 10, 2016 at 6:35 pm
          US and the West is materialism personified! For money they would sell their mother even.
          1. I
            Feb 10, 2016 at 10:16 pm
            what he spoke is truth!
            1. H
              Feb 10, 2016 at 6:10 pm
              What he said is what the so-called "powerful" Indians always have been saying in their plush dining rooms and seven-star hotels. P. Chidambaram in fact invited (in the '90s, Rao-Manmohan-Chidambaram-YSinha-Arun Shourie era) the Britishers to come again to rule India's economy, reminding them of their earlier political-military rule of yore flatteringly.
              1. N
                Feb 11, 2016 at 4:11 am
                At least Andreessen's retraction and apology is handsomely worded and he has accepted his mistake in unambiguous terms. We have to look around and see how many of our politicians have accepted their mistakes and offered an open apology to the public. The number is ZERO. Our leaders should all take a course on humility from Andreessen.
                1. D
                  Feb 10, 2016 at 8:12 pm
                  People of India please open your minds. Think. Mr. Zuckerberg /Facebook is not in India to help. But to capture the market and make billions, his appee is voracious. He uses the words "free" and "poor" to exploit and fool Indians. In hindsight Mr Modi meeting him personally was a mistake, when it comes to money he does not understand friendship, just interest.
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