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PR Gem for Facebook in a Time of Need

Facebook Initiative to Connect the World to the Internet

In a time when Facebook is seeing a great deal of negative feedback for its platform’s borderline intrusive advertisements, Mark Zuckerberg has announced Facebook’s intent to bring the Internet to the developing world through Internet.org. Internet.org is a coalition of 7 international mobile and Internet giants fronted by Facebook and Zuckerberg with the stated goal of getting the Internet to the two thirds of humanity currently without access.

The humanitarian flavor of the story certainly helps the public perception of the often negatively portrayed Facebook and Zuckerberg. The obvious counterpoint is that giving Internet access does not help the immediate needs of those living in the developing world. “When a kid gets diarrhea, no, there’s no Web site that relieves that,” said Bill Gates in a recent Q & A with Bloomberg Business. Of course, he was actually targeting Google’s Project Loon with that comment, an endeavor similar to Facebook’s that would use balloons in the atmosphere to provide Internet connections to the underserved areas of the world.

So how will an Internet connection benefit the developing world? According to Zuckerberg in a recent interview with CNN, “Here, we use things like Facebook to share news, to catch up with our friends, but there, they’re going to use it to decide what kind of government they want, get access to health care for the first time ever, connect with family hundreds of miles away that they haven’t seen in decades.”

The move also solidifies both Facebook and Zuckerberg’s status and industry leaders, with Facebook at the forefront of Internet.org and Zuckerberg as its lead spokesperson. And, as the developing world catches up, there is no way they will forget who brought them the Internet.

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