Zuckerberg calls on UN to Connect The World

September 28, 2015 // 12:24 p.m.

Tags: #facebook #facebook-zero #internet-access #internetorg #mark-zuckerberg #net-neutrality #un #united-nations

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has addressed the United Nations to call for internet access to be treated as a global priority, as part of the Connect The World campaign.

Speaking during a discussion at the UN to approve a new set of global goals for the organisation, Zuckerberg made an pair of impassioned speeches stating outright that universal access to the internet should be made a global priority. 'We have a simple message. Internet access is essential for achieving humanity’s Global Goals,' Zuckerberg told attendees. 'By giving people access to the tools, knowledge and opportunities of the internet, we can give a voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless. We also know that the internet is a vital enabler of jobs, growth and opportunity. And research tells us that for every 10 people connected to the internet, about 1 is lifted out of poverty. If we connect the more than 4 billion people not yet online, we have a historic opportunity to lift the entire world in the coming decade.'

The Facebook founder's call to action comes as he pledges support for the Connect The World campaign, which calls upon 'leaders and innovators from all countries, industries, and communities to work together to make universal internet access a reality.' UN member nations have agreed to treat universal internet access as an official Global Goal, stating that they will make progress with a goal of wider access by 2020.

Zuckerberg has come under fire of late for his own attempts to broaden access to the internet, in particular his Internet.org programme. An extension of 2010'sFacebook Zero platform, Internet.org launched in 2013 as a way to bring access to selected internet services to developing nations but has been criticised as a walled garden which favours Facebook's own services and turns those who could most benefit from a free and open internet into a captive audience.
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