Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg on India, Internet.org, net neutrality


MUMBAI: Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has set his sights on the Indian market in a big way, which according to him is one of the key markets for the social networking company.

In his second visit this year to the country, the young entrepreneur visited the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, where close to 900 students attended the Question & Answer session.

Zuckerberg addressed issues such as Net Neutrality, internet access as well as Facebook’s initiatives to invest in India.

Speaking at the event, Zuckerberg said that his mission was to connect everyone in India to the internet.

According to a UK based consultancy We Are Social and Facebook India, of the 1.49 billion people who check Facebook at least once a month, more than 130 million are in India. It is more than anywhere outside the US and the number has been rising in recent years.Facebook had 118 million users in 2014 as compared to a year earlier, which was 93 million.

Zuckerberg explained that Facebook's initiative Internet.org has nothing insidious but aims to provide connectivity for access to education, health care and financial services to millions of Indians. Internet.org was launched in 2013 for a global effort to provide web access to unconnected users in the developing nations.

Speaking on the investment on Artificial Intelligence Systems, Zuckerberg said, "AI is really exciting. We will be able to see smarter computers being built. With AI, it’s going to be less about products and making the existing ones smarter. We are working on a project where AI can describe photos to blind people. Second example, right now the best way to let people know you are safe in terms of a crisis is by yourself or through your friends. In the future maybe satellites and other technologies can help with this."

He said that almost three million people said they were safe by using Facebook's safety-check feature after the recent earthquake in Afghanistan. "When there’s a disaster all you want to know if your loved ones are safe," he said.

He further spoke on Net Neutrality saying, "Most of the people pushing for net-neutrality already have access to Internet. But those who aren't, can't sign an online petition for an increase in the Internet. We all have a moral responsibility to look out for those who don't have access and make sure the rules don’t get twisted to hurt those who don’t have a voice."

Later, taking to his Facebook page, he posted an update about the Townhall Q&A in Delhi saying, "We just wrapped up our Townhall Q&A in Delhi! People asked great questions about how we can connect everyone in India to the internet, how we provide everyone with a great education and how to build a strong company. I really appreciate these Q&AS. Hearing what you care about makes Facebook better. Thanks to everyone who asked a question or tuned in!"

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