Facebook Moves to Get Planet Earth Online

And using Facebook, presumably

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 21, 2013 7:07 AM CDT | Updated Aug 21, 2013 7:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – Some 4 billion people on this planet do not have Internet access, so a group of tech giants has formed a partnership with the aim of finally connecting those unfortunates to the virtual world of cat GIFs and, ahem, witty news curation websites. Spearheaded by Facebook, the partnership, called Internet.org, also includes names like Samsung, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Ericsson, reports the New York Times. "There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy," says Mark Zuckerberg in a statement. "Internet.org will work to overcome these challenges, including making Internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it."

The Zuck reveals a three-pronged approach to tackling the problem: making Internet access more affordable with, for instance, cheaper smartphones; creating apps and tools to reduce the amount of data needed; and building partnerships with mobile operators, developers, and others to do things like enabling more languages on mobile devices. Not part of the plan, however, notes the Times, is addressing the lack of infrastructure in the developing world. Also not expected to take part? Google, which is doing its own thing. The coalition does hope to bring Microsoft on board, but Bill Gates recently indicated to Business Week that he thinks the third world has more pressing issues. "When a kid gets diarrhea," he said, "no, there’s no website that relieves that."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about Facebook Graph Search at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about Facebook Graph Search at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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