Marc Andreessen lights up Twitter with Indian colonial talk

If President Obama wanted to show a dark sense of humor, he might nominate Marc Andreessen as the next U.S. ambassador to India. Because the welcoming committee in New Delhi would be, well, probably not so welcoming right now.

Thanks to the great provider of news and information that is Twitter, Andreessen, who heads up venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, got himself in a bit of a snit with the Indian subcontinent Wednesday. Andreessen is on Facebook’s board of directors. Earlier this week, the national telecom regulator in India blocked access to Facebook’s Free Basics service, which lets people in some developing nations get free access to a limited amount of websites, including Facebook. The telecom regulator in India said Internet service providers couldn’t charge different rates to get access to different parts of the Web.

Andreessen didn’t dig what India had to say. He took to Twitter under his @pmarca handle and gave several opinions on the matter, but one, in particular stood out:

“Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now?”

Now, India once was called the Crown Jewel of the British Empire. And while the British did introduce many positive things to India — the rail system, a love of paperwork and red tape, India Pale Ale beer — India wanted to run its own shop, and the British pulled up their colonial stakes in 1947.

But the Age of Empires is long gone, and in 2016, to suggest that a country of 1.3 billion people might be better off if ruled by a small island nation thousands of miles away is only going to invite scorn upon your head. Andreessen heard it from the Twittersphere, and soon deleted his tweet.

He then replaced it with an apology… and reiterated his feelings Wednesday morning:

Not long after Andreessen’s tweetstorm Wednesday morning, a Facebook spokesperson emailed the following statement to the Mercury News:

“We strongly reject the sentiments expressed by Marc Andreessen last night regarding India.”

Photo: Marc Andreessen in 2012. (Dai Sugano/Mercury News)


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