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.”
And for the record, I am opposed to colonialism, in any country. https://t.co/3ommgZssMm
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 10, 2016
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
Looks like @pmarca has deleted his ‘anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for India’ tweet. Hope he is regretting. Apologies?
— Raju (@rajupp) February 10, 2016
Its funny how the creators of the notion of equal internet in west, think the same rationale is just “ideological” in east.
— Avlesh Singh (@avlesh) February 10, 2016
Do you get it? Do you understand colonialism at all? You don’t get to compete with your colonial overlords. Nope. Not possible.
— ankita industrious (@ankita) February 10, 2016
— Nikhil Pahwa (@nixxin) February 10, 2016
Oh no you didn’t say that. pic.twitter.com/zwUK1mOFKA
— Ankush Chibber (@ankushatwork) February 10, 2016