Facebook is now a massive, publically traded company, and a social media power that has now cemented itself onto the computers and phones of most people with Internet access, either through Facebook itself or through many of their other owned websites including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Friend.ly. They have even invested into virtual reality technology called Oculus which could very much change the video game industry. They are big enough where they can make – and are making – a huge impact on the world.
So what is next for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook? According to him, the end goal is to give everyone access to the Internet. As stated in the CNN Money article, “Mark Zuckerberg: Internet access can eradicate extreme poverty,” Zuckerberg stated that “Connecting the world is one of the fundamental challenges of our generation.” This article talks about how Zuckerberg argues for a world without poverty via connection to the Internet. In order to do this Facebook is partnering with the United Nations as of late September in their attempt to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030, which would be an incredible global achievement if accomplished. Not only will this hopefully bring many countries slowly out of an impoverished, unconnected culture, but will also get Facebook into many untapped markets. Though money is hopefully not the main motivation with this initiative, it is one of the products of a more connected society for the company, which they certainly cannot disagree with or ignore.
In the news today, October 5th, Facebook announced that they are taking a huge step to accomplish this feat of global connectivity. Facebook is partnering with French satellite company Eutelsat in order to launch a satellite that will give free internet access to 14 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. Facebook is “using satellites, lasers and drones to get the ‘next billion’ people around the world online as part of its Internet.org initiative.”
No matter if Facebook is doing this because of Zuckerberg’s supposed dream of a connected world, or because they want to tap into these unexposed markets, these moves toward connectivity will have an unprecedented impact. This connection could allow for more African countries to globalize, develop and hopefully start to catch up in the ever-evolving world-wide economic environment we live in now. Knowing that consistent internet is available in these countries could further allow development-oriented organizations to do work in these countries much more easily via easy communication with their home base of operation, and allow easy money transactions or requests for necessarily materials. One barrier that could stand in the way is the presumably obvious lack of devices that the residents of these African countries will have access to. With that said, there may have never been a big enough internet presence for companies to look into providing these devices; these steps that Facebook has made today could definitely change that.