Facebook clarifies on ‘Digital India’ profile picture issue

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Facebook on Tuesday sought to clarify on the controversy over support for “Digital India” — which chief executive Mark Zuckerberg had solicited — also translating into support for the much-criticised Internet.og initiative of the social networking giant.

The company said it was a “mistake” by an engineer.

It all started when Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg changed his profile picture with a tint of green, saffron and white for the Tricolour in a symbolic gesture to suggest he supports Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Digital India” campaign.

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He asked others to follow suit.

Accordingly, a host of Facebook users also started doing the same. But it was soon noticed that if you changed your display, the code below had a small bit with the word Internet.org — an initiative netizens have been opposing for allegedly being anti-net neutrality.

It thus sent out a feeling that support to “Digital India” also meant support for Internet.org.

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“There is absolutely no connection between updating your profile picture for ‘Digital India’ and Internet.org. An engineer by mistake used the words ‘Internet.org profile picture’ as a shorthand name he chose for part of the code,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

“But this product in no way connects to or registers support for Internet.org. We are changing the code today to eliminate any confusion,” he added.

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Ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Modi, Zuckerberg has said on September 27: “I changed my profile picture to support Digital India, the Indian government’s effort to connect rural communities to the Internet and give people access to more services online.”

He added: “Looking forward to discussing this with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Facebook today.” He also made a plea for people to shor their support at fb.com/supportdigitalindia.

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