Zuckerberg excited to see how Facebook can help connect Indian villages with digital world

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

New Delhi, Oct 9: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is on his first visit to India, on Thursday said he will discuss with Prime Minister Narendra Modi ways to connect villages with the digital world.

The CEO of the California-headquartered firm said: “India is an amazing country with unlimited potential. It is a place of big ambitions and Facebook is deeply committed to the country. We see lot of growth for us here. Tomorrow I’m meeting the Prime Minister. He is committed to connecting villages online and we are excited to see how Facebook can help.”

India has about 243 million Internet users and have 100 million plus Facebook users, but there are over a billion people in the country who do not have access to the net, he added. He is the third high profile CEO of a US-based firm, after Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Micrsoft’s Satya Nadella, to visit India in last few days.

Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is creating a USD 1 million fund to help developers develop apps for farmers, migrants and women. This will be a contest to drive new apps and services in local languages.

“Since 2007, Facebook has been working on new apps and services in local languages. About 65 per cent use Facebook in a language other than English, including 10 Indian languages,” he added.

On barriers in Internet penetration, he said: “There are three major barriers to connectivity network, affordability and content.”

Zuckerberg, counted among the youngest tech billionaires, said free basic internet access should be like dialing 911 in the US or 100 in India.

Technology has to serve the society, he said adding that connectivity cannot be a privilege of the rich and powerful.

Zuckerberg said through Internet.org, the industry aims to make Internet access affordable for people across the globe.

Addressing the first Internet.org summit, the billionaire CEO congratulated India for its successful Mars mission. He said that India has shown its technical skill through Mangalyaan.

He said, “India has always made leaps in revolutions that changed the world. Mangalyaan was a huge achievement for India.”

(With Agency Inputs)


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