Connectivity is human right, says Zuckerberg

Connectivity is human right, says Zuckerberg

Connectivity is human right, says Zuckerberg

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise to digitise India seems to have attracted Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg who on Thursday committed a $1-million fund towards developing apps to connect the masses with the Internet.

“Technology has to serve the society, connectivity cannot be a privilege of the rich and powerful. Internet connectivity should be a human right,” Zuckerberg, who is in India to participate in an event to boost Internet usage, said. He will meet the prime minister on Friday to discuss ways to go forward with the initiative.

“I am excited about his (Modi’s) Digital India campaign. I am meeting him tomorrow (Friday). We will try to work together for spreading the Internet to the one billion Indians who are out of its reach,” said one of the world’s youngest tech billionaires who believes that free basic Internet access should be readily available.

Facebook is engaged in developing new apps and services since 2007. The world’s largest social media site’s initiative — “internet.org” — seeks to make Internet affordable for people across the globe.

The founding members of the initiative, including Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, among others will together develop low-cost, high quality smartphones to serve the masses, Zuckerberg said.

He said one of the biggest barriers to Internet connectivity was lack of awareness among the people about its usage. “About 69 per cent of the people are not connected to the net because they do not know why they should be connected,” he said, emphasising on the need to build services and develop content that creates awareness among the people, including in India.

India has about 243 million Internet users and above 100 million Facebook users. Still, there are more than a billion people who do not have access to Internet in the country.

“In India we see a lot of opportunity. I know that Prime Minister Modi is also committed to spreading the Internet. He is committed to connecting villages online and we are excited to see how Facebook can help,” Zuckerberg said, urging the government, telecom operators and the people to work together with Facebook to spread Internet accessibility.

The Facebook CEO also said that he had no immediate plans to make money from “WhatsApp” which it recently acquired. “We have different ideas about what we can do but for the near future, I mean the next few years, we are really focused on connecting more people, to get them to use our service,” Zuckerberg said.

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