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.