Facebook founder leads initiative to globalize data

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has succeeded in connecting over 1 billion people with his social network, and now he is onto his next mission: connecting the entire world. Zuckerberg announced Internet.org last week, a partnership devoted to spreading Internet access across the globe.

According to Zuckerberg, only 2.7 billion people worldwide have Internet access despite the 5 billion mobile phones in use. With his partners at Internet.org, which include Samsung and Qualcomm, Zuckerberg hopes to change that.

“There is no guarantee that most people will ever have access to the Internet,” Zuckerberg said in a statement on Facebook. “It isn’t going to happen by itself. But I believe connectivity is a human right, and that if we work together we can make it a reality.”

Internet.org laid out a three-part vision for giving online access to developing countries. The organization first plans to cheapen the Internet by making data delivery more efficient. They also want apps to use less data, which Zuckerberg said can be achieved through compression and optimization.

“One often overlooked lever for reducing people’s overall data costs is simply using less data,” Zuckerberg said. “Part of why we overlook this is because most people building large scale Internet services live in developed countries where we pay for e’ÀΌΗectively unlimited data plans. When you have an unlimited data plan, there isn’t much of an incentive to use less data. But most of the world doesn’t work this way.”

Finally, the partnership will work with businesses to make the social and cultural changes necessary to achieve data implementation. Zuckerberg claimed that improving credit infrastructure and increasing incentive will lead to data usage in other countries.  

Zuckerberg’s statement does not provide many logistical details about Internet.org’s plan, particularly on the financial side. However, he does acknowledge some obstacles. Many people do not have phones, he said, and Internet.org can only address those with phones or computers at this moment. Plus, he said some people do not understand why a data plan is necessary.

But despite the challenges, Zuckerberg seems confident this plan can work. It will not only benefit new users, he said, but will contribute to the greater good.
“The world economy is going through a massive transition right now,” Zuckerberg said. “The knowledge economy is the future. By bringing everyone online, we’ll not only improve billions of lives, but we’ll also improve our own as we bene’ÀΌ΁t from the ideas and productivity they contribute to the world.”