Internet could empower those new to the web

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. Photo: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg opened up his page to questions for one hour recently and who should drop by but none other than entrepreneur Richard Branson.

Here is the exchange:

Richard Branson:

Hi Mark. I share your view that it is crucial to connect the two thirds of the world that don’t currently have access to the internet. What do you think will be the biggest benefits of this?

Mark Zuckerberg:

Thanks for stopping by Richard Branson!

When we talk about connecting the world, most people talk about the clear benefits to all the people who will get internet access and don’t have it today. Those benefits are many: access to education, health information, jobs and so on. Many people estimate that for every billion people we connect, we’ll raise more than 100 million out of poverty.

But one thing that we often overlook in this discussion is how everyone who is already connected will benefit from having everyone online.

Think about how many brilliant entrepreneurs there are out there who have great ideas and the will to change the world, but just lack basic tools to do so today. If you go by the population, almost 2/3 of these entrepreneurs don’t have internet access today. Once they get connected, we may have 3x as many good ideas and amazing new services built that will benefit everyone around the world.

Another Facebook user had this to ask:

Shakira:

Hi Mark! How do you think technology can best be used as an education tool for those living in disadvantaged communities?

Mark Zuckerberg:

Thanks for the question Shakira!

I’m very excited about personalized learning — giving everyone the ability to use technology to learn what they’re most interested in and at their own pace. There are some great new schools experimenting with different personalized learning models and getting great results. I’m supporting some of those schools through my personal philanthropy, and Facebook is also helping to build open source software to power some of these tools.