NEWYORK – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised that his company will assist in bringing internet access to refugee camps. Speaking at the United Nations Private Sector Forum, he said Facebook would work with the intergovernmental body to make the internet available to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to use it, calling it an “enabler of human rights” and a “force for peace.” The New York Times says Zuckerberg also noted that having more people online would be beneficial to Facebook itself. “It’s not all altruism,” he said later in the day. “We all benefit when we are more connected.”
Zuckerberg didn’t specify exact details of how, when, or where Facebook would start to offer internet to refugees. The UN’s General Assembly building has this week displayed parts from Facebook’s internet-enabling drone, a huge creation the size of a passenger jet that Zuckerberg says will eventually fly unpiloted around the world, beaming Wi-Fi signal down to areas that have sparse internet access. Facebook chair person has called internet access “essential” for the developing world.
He said Facebook would work with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“Connectivity will help refugees better access support from the aid community and maintain links to family and loved ones,” he said. “Facebook is in a unique position to help maintain this lifeline.”
Some three billion people around the world have internet access, and the connectivity campaign aims to bring the internet to the other four billion.
Mr Zuckerberg says that Facebook has nearly 1.5 billion users who log in once a month, and achieved a billion users in a single day for the first time last month.
He has predicted that the site’s reach will continue to grow.