Silicon Valley investor and Twitter gadfly Marc Andreessen joined the discussion about Facebook's Free Basics program this week -- and then promptly put his foot in his mouth.
Facebook offered Internet access for free in India, limited to content offered by Facebook itself and its partners. Indian regulators effectively blocked the program recently, when it affirmed net neutrality rules in the country. (See India Deals Death Blow to Facebook's Free Basics .)
Andreessen, a partner at venture investors Andreessen Horowitz and member of the Facebook board, fired a broadside when he posted:
Denying world's poorest free partial Internet connectivity when today they have none, for ideological reasons, strikes me as morally wrong.— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 10, 2016
Defenders of the Indian decision said Facebook didn't have a right to step in and decide what should be free and what should be paid.
Some said Free Basics was the latest iteration of imperialism, and compared it to the 19th Century doctrine of the "white man's burden," according to CNN.
"Hey, you guys are from the third world. You don't know what's good for you. We'll think & decide on your behalf" https://t.co/l2rUaPM5qP— Salar (@smbijili) February 10, 2016
That's when Andreessen went too far: "Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now?" he tweeted.
If ANYONE in Silicon Valley cares about @pmarca come and get your boy bc he's abt to yell "We gave those ungrateful natives the railroads!"— Caille Millner (@caillemillner) February 10, 2016
Andreessen deleted the tweet and apologized.
I apologize for any offense caused by my earlier tweet about Indian history and politics. I admire India and the Indian people enormously. 😀— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) February 10, 2016
Later, he retweeted this comment: