Mark Zuckerberg has built a powerhouse in the form of Facebook which has both revolutionized the notion of a social network for consumers and also provided a platform for discussion and quick responses to world events. The recent statements from the famous CEO, who always seems to clad himself in the same coloured T-shirt, have included phrases concerning the Internet being “a force for peace” and “an enabler of human rights”, has announced that his company would offer its assistance to the United Nations with the aim of supplying internet connections to refugee camps.
Mr Zuckerberg responded to suggestions that Facebook are aiming to offer this service with the knowledge and expectation of drawing new consumers to the company’s platform by stating that it’s “not all altruism”. This, according to Wikipedia is defined as the “principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others”. Facebook have yet to firmly state how and when they would be offering their assistance to refugee camps, or indeed how the internet connections would work.
This has coincided with a petition which Mr Zuckerberg has created with the entertainer Bono, the philanthropist Mo Ibrahim and others to expand connectivity, calling internet access “essential” to achieving the development goals. This is all well and good, but there has yet to be clarification on the subject of net neutrality or internet censorship.
I have a feeling this gesture is being driven in its entirety by share price and company growth, Facebook wants to break into developing markets and are viewing the current displacement of people as a business opportunity. Mr Zuckerberg believes “We all benefit when we are more connected.” Indeed, so do the advertisers and corporations. There is also another issue which I can think of, if these refugee camps are connected via the Internet, surely this would make them easier to be tracked or hacked into by governments, your average Joe Militia or terrorist organisations.
It will be interesting to track, see what I did there, the progress and potential outcomes of these projects on the wider world.
Thank you nytimes for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of bnr.nl