“Imagine a world where it connects us all.” This quote was featured in the commercial for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s new project, Internet.org.
The goal of this project is to try to get as many people using the Internet as possible, especially in developing countries.
According to a Facebook press release in a Huffington Post article, with data being so expensive, the way to fix it would be by “collaborate[ing] to develop and adopt[ing] technologies that make mobile connectivity more affordable and decrease the cost of delivering data … Supporting[ing] the development of sustainable new business models and services that make it easier for people to access the Internet.”
The companies involved in this project are Facebook, Nokia, Samsung, Opera, Qualcomm, Ericsson and MediaTek.
But it seems as if these companies might be doing this for the money rather than actually trying to help people. If this project succeeds, they would be making a much larger profit than they already do, considering they would gain five billion more customers. Connecting everyone in the world via the Internet would be a great way to interact, but this should not be our main concern.
According to an article by The World Bank Group, citizens of these countries, especially those living in rural areas, have to walk extremely long distances just for clean water.
Additionally, according to the Global Issues website, about 28 percent of children are underweight. And, in 2005, about 72 million children were not able to attend school, 57 percent of them being girls.
With this in mind, does it really make sense to be thinking about providing Internet for these people, considering they are not even able to find clean water?
Instead of these companies trying to put their time and money into creating this program to “connect us all,” it would be more beneficial to provide these countries with necessities such as cleaner water and better food.
In 2010, CBS News reported Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, and Melinda Gate’s foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which works to improve healthcare, has been donating $10 billion this past decade in order to research new vaccines and use them in developing countries. According to the report, because of these vaccines, immunization rates for diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis have increased from 66 percent to 79 percent.
Gates, who is in a similar industry as the companies creating Internet.org, is using his power and money in order to help these countries with issues that are more important than the Internet. Having Internet is not going to save lives, but vaccines for the ill, food and water all will.
Though we may think the Internet would be ideal to have in these countries, fulfilling basic human needs of clean water, food and shelter take precedence in these developing countries.
Hopefully, there comes a day where an Internet connection becomes the greatest concern, but for the time being, Zuckerberg needs to focus on helping these countries with real issues, and not worry about if they will be able to share the joys of creating a Facebook status.