Mark Zuckerberg is bringing the Internet to refugee camps

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook rebrands free Internet service, expands.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the United Nations about the internet’s ability to raise people out of poverty, explaining that for every 10 people connected, one will be lifted. already have a hard life, but that’s made worse by the typical lack of internet access at refugee camps — unless you resettle, you may never get online.WASHINGTON: Facebook has changed the name of its programme offering free Internet to developing countries to “Free Basics” and added more services.

High Commissioner for Refugees to bring Internet access to refugee camps, BBC reports. “Connectivity will help refugees better access support from the aid community and maintain links to family and loved ones,” Zuckerberg said. “Facebook is in a unique position to help maintain this lifeline.” There are currently about 1.5 billion users that log into the social media website at least once a month. Zuck added: ‘Data can help us make smarter decisions but only if you can interpret it quickly and with confidence, so we want to help the U.N. make decisions that will advance our goals.’ Addressing crowds, which included President Xi Jinping of China, U2 musician Bono and Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, he also said that access to the web should be ‘at the heart of the global development strategy’ when it comes to making poverty history.

Attending a luncheon on the sidelines of a United Nations development summit, Merkel and Zuckerberg were overheard on a live broadcast on the UN website as participants took their seats. “Are you working on this?” Merkel asked in English. “Yeah,” Zuckerberg responded, before the dialogue was cut off by introductory remarks to those present. It comes after criticism because of the limited service for the free programme – which some say flies in the face of Facebook’s commitment for “net neutrality,” or equal treatment for all online services. It should be accessible by everyone.” Other co-signatories included Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, and U2 front man Bono because he has to muscle in on this sort of thing and probably thinks that every Somali villager is entitled to a free copy of his new album. Company chief Mark Zuckerberg (who revealed the plans at a luncheon) didn’t explain how and where this would take place, but it won’t be shocking if Facebook relies on its upcoming internet drones to connect these sometimes remote places. German authorities have been grappling with the country’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II, with as many as 1 million seeking refuge from war and poverty expected to enter the country this year.

In a statement, Facebook said that with its latest update, “more than 60 new services are available across the 19 countries where free basic services are available.” Facebook has said it would be impractical to offer the entire Internet for free through the programme, which works through mobile carriers in various countries. In an unusual move for Zuck, he ditched his usual hoodie for a proper suit, attending a lunch do with guests including German chancellor Angela Merkel. “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, and that’s a powerful force,” he said. The UN estimates that it will take between 3.5 and five trillion dollars a year to meet the global goals involved, while Jamie Drummond, executive director of One, the Bono-fronted charity, called on the countries of the world to come up with an “urgent plan” to get things moving. The Facebook CEO recently co-wrote a piece in the New York Times with U2 frontman Bono in which they outline the importance of global connectivity and call for Silicon Valley tech companies to take action. A number of initiatives are already in place as the big internet players continue to show their philanthropic commitment to having even more people to advertise to.

Zuckerberg’s Internet.org has come under fire for its Free Basics service which offers access to free sites which Facebook deems relevant to the audience, but fails basic privacy tests. This is a bummer, of course, if you’ve just paid for new vertical blinds in the lounge-room, but according to believers Judgment Day is at hand and the good Lord cares little for interior design. The putative clue to our impending demise is an unusually bulbous full moon, gleefully identified by over-excited people on the windier shores of Christianity and Judaism as a “blood moon”. To prominent evangelists such as Mark Blitz of El Shaddai Ministries in Washington, and the eponymous head of John Hagee Ministries in San Antonio, Texas, this is deeply significant. You’ll get to keep your current user name (as long as it doesn’t contain invalid characters, in which case you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make the transfer), and all your old comments will eventually (not immediately) migrate with you.

They and their followers point to an obscure passage in the Old Testament’s Book of Joel – “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord comes” – and advise their followers, a touch smugly, to get on their knees and wait for the apocalypse. If there is a deity up there, therefore, sending worrying messages via the night sky, He is evidently not that concerned with keeping the southern hemisphere in the loop. Light from the sun, although largely blocked by the Earth, still refracts weakly through the atmosphere, generating a faintly red hue, sometimes accentuated by airborne volcanic dust. By the 4th century doomsday expectation was so high that the great theologian Augustine of Hippo advised his flock to stop counting the days and rest their busy fingers. “But there is little sign that this advice was heeded,” wrote US historian Damian Thompson in his 1996 study The End of Time. “Augustine recorded an outbreak of panic in Constantinople in AD398, a year which he believed marked the completion of 365 years from the Crucifixion.” Since then there have been hundreds of doomsday predictions, of which Monday’s blood moon is just the latest.

In Australia the movement is strong, if less defined, with dedicated stores such as Survival Supplies Australia in Lilydale, and dozens on online blogs and forums. Because, after all, if the world is going to burn and roil and be scorched clean by a vengeful god beneath a blood-red moon, it’s important to look one’s best.

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