Full of Unlimited Potential, said Mark Zuckerberg
Seeing the growth potential for Facebook in India, its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg 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, who is on his first visit to India, said he is excited to help the government in its ambitious Digital India programme.
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 the last few days.
Mr. Zuckerberg announced that Facebook is creating a $1 million fund to help developers to 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.”
Technology has to serve the society, he said adding that connectivity cannot be a privilege of the rich and powerful. “When the benefits of technology are shared across the whole society, we can make the big leap. Because India has embraced science, the next generation has the opportunity to bring the world to India and India to the world,” he added.
Mr. Zuckerberg said through Internet.org, the industry aims to make Internet access affordable for people across the globe. Focused on enabling the next five billion people without Internet access to come online, the founding members of the project include Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung.
The partners are collaborating on developing lower-cost, higher-quality smart phones and deploying Internet access in under-served communities.