Flipkart backs off from Airtel deal amid social media backlash over net neutrality threat

Adam Hignett
Flipkart was founded in 2007 and now has revenues of over $1bn and 33,000 employees
India’s biggest online retailer Flipkart succumbed to social media protesters yesterday after announcing it was backing away from a controversial deal with phone network Airtel.

Flipkart had faced an increasingly hostile social media backlash after announcing plans to allow its customers to freely browse Airtel’s network while picking up their data costs.

Critics had slammed the deal as breaching the notion of net neutrality with users taking to social media websites threatening to delete the company app if it did not reverse its decision. In addition, over 100,000 people emailed India’s regulator demanding they step in to protect net neutrality.

The concept of net neutrality is that all users should be able to access all websites at the same speed and cost, a situation many felt would be undermined by the deal. Flipkart said it has always strongly believed in the concept, adding that it only exists because of the internet.

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