Viber offers free calls to countries affected by Trump's immigration ban

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/GoodLifeStudio)

In the wake of US President Donald Trump's immigration ban affecting citizens from seven countries, we've seen a few sympathetic technology companies offering their resources to help those affected. Among the first was Airbnb who are providing free housing to refugees. 

Joining the likes of Airbnb in providing assistance to people suffering from Trump's sudden executive order is messaging giant Viber who is enabling free calls from the US to countries from where immigration has been halted.

The affected countries are: 

  • Iraq 

  • Syria 

  • Iran 

  • Libya 

  • Somalia 

  • Sudan 

  • Yemen 

While it's not going to solve the situation people from these countries have been put in, Viber's move at least opens up a free method of communication for people to contact their friends and family in their home countries and keep them informed of developments. 

The CEO of Viber's parent company Rakuten, Hiroshi Mikitani, shared his disappointment felt by many within the US and around the globe at the measure which stands against America's lauded values of freedom and liberty: 

Mikitani then announced Viber – which Rakuten acquired for $900 million three years ago – would be enabling free calls to help those affected: 

Rakuten joins the huge list of companies who condemn the measure; the majority of whom employ individuals from the banned countries. This growing list includes Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Uber, and others. 

While most of these companies have simply issued statements as of writing, Google has pledged $4 million to support four organisations supporting immigrants, while Uber has set up a $3 million fund to support its driver from the affected countries to aid with their immigration defense. 

The order is said to prevent extremists from these countries entering the US, but not a single American death on US soil has been caused by citizens from the banned nations. Citizens from other Middle-East countries – such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Lebanon – have caused thousands of American deaths, yet are exempt from the ban. 

As this report from the CATO Institute states: "The chance of an American being murdered in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion per year while the chance of being murdered in an attack committed by an illegal immigrant is an astronomical 1 in 10.9 billion per year. By contrast, the chance of being murdered by a tourist on a B visa, the most common tourist visa, is 1 in 3.9 million per year." 

Should other technology companies follow Viber's example? Let us know in the comments.

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