Facebook CEO Zuckerberg backs call for universal internet access by 2020

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ahead of UN address, Mark Zuckerberg issues call for universal Internet access.

UNITED NATIONS, UNITED STATES: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates on Saturday threw their weight behind the goal of bringing Internet access to everyone in the world by 2020. UNITED NATIONS — Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, promoted access to the Internet as “an enabler of human rights” and a “force for peace” on Saturday, as he announced that his company would help the United Nations bring Internet connections to refugee camps. “It’s not all altruism,” Zuckerberg said later, in an implicit acknowledgment that drawing new users to his service is also good for Facebook’s bottom line. “We all benefit when we are more connected.” Zuckerberg’s remarks came at a lunch hosted by the U.N.He added that it would help refugees get better support from the aid community and help them maintain links to family and loved ones, according to CNET. ‘The Internet is more than just a network of machines, it is the key driver of social and economic progress in our time,’ said Zuckerberg in his speech. ‘A like or a post won’t stop a tank or a bullet, but when people are connected, we have the chance to build a common global community with a shared understanding.’ The largest refugee population is from war-torn Syria – where Facebook, incidentally, is banned.

It was attended by government leaders and business executives and was intended to encourage private-sector cooperation to advance the ambitious global development goals adopted Friday in the General Assembly. He has said that Internet access is “essential for achieving humanity’s Global Goals.” In support of its ‘Connectivity Declaration,’ Facebook is joined by numerous individuals and organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, entrepreneur Richard Branson, Ericsson’s Hans Vestberg, editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington, Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales, TED founder Chris Anderson, actor George Takei, artist Shakira, UN Foundation’s Kathy Calvin, actor Charlize Theron for the Africa Outreach Project, and others.

Facebook, along with Google, has been engaging in a concentrated effort to build more satellites and other craft that can beam internet services to remote towns and villages. Other signatories included Jimmy Wales, co-founder of free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, and U2 frontman Bono on behalf of his One anti-poverty campaign. The statement seeks to draw attention to the United Nation’s Global Goals, which the world body adopted this week — namely, to the section that demands Internet access for all (including the least-developed countries of the world) by 2020.

On Saturday, she made a strong pitch to business leaders to do their part, reminding them that curbing corruption, which is one of the goals, would make their lives easier, too. The objectives, described as “a to-do list for people and planet” by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, are intended as a roadmap to be implemented by government and the private sector. Jamie Drummond, global executive director of One which spearheaded the push, called on every country to come up with an “urgent plan” to meet the Internet access goals. The Pope and Malala have spoken eloquently about the one world and one family we’re all a part of, and the internet, at its best, facilitates that unity. The connectivity campaign calls on governments, businesses and innovators to bring the Internet to the some 4 billion people who now do not have access, organisers said.

In April 2015, 64 organizations from around the world sent an open letter to Facebook’s CEO complaining that “Facebooknet” violates the principles of net-neutrality, which, yea, it absolutely does. Melinda Gates, speaking to reporters in advance of the launch, said that the health and education of girls was critical to anti-poverty efforts and that the issue had not been sufficiently emphasized in the UN’s previous Millennium Development Goals. “When we look at investing our own money or asking governments to invest their money… we have to make sure that those investments make a difference,” she said. “Many of the issues that affect women and girls are not talked about — violence against women — and this is not only in developing countries,” she said. Zuckerberg’s remarks coincided with a petition that he began with the entertainer Bono, the philanthropist Mo Ibrahim and others to expand connectivity, calling Internet access “essential” to achieving the development goals but skirting thorny issues like net neutrality and Internet censorship. Critics also object to the idea of giving Facebook even broader reach. “Facebook has proven over and over again that its goal is to make our personal lives less private. Besides speaking at the UN today in its private sector forum, Facebook’s CEO was in high-level tech talks with China’s premier earlier this week, and will host a town hall Q&A session with India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, tomorrow at Facebook’s headquarters.

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