Mark Zuckerberg Wants World’s 5 Billion Without Internet To Get Connected (And On Facebook?)

The Zuck, a man with a plan.

The Zuck, a man with a plan.

Forget trying to buy the world a Coke — Mark Zuckerberg would like to connect the five billion people on the planet who don’t have Internet with the rest of the online world. And while yes, of course, since he’s the founder and CEO of Facebook, one might assume that the more of those people who have access to the World Wide Web, the more there’ll be on Facebook. But he says it’s really about connecting people. On Facebook. Okay, really — just about connecting.

“If we really just wanted to focus on making money, the first billion people who are already on Facebook have way more money than the next five or six billion people combined,” Zuckerberg tells CNN in an interview about his ambitions for Internet.org, his new campaign. “It’s not fair, but it’s the way that it is. And, we just believe that everyone deserves to be connected, and on the Internet, so we’re putting a lot of energy towards this.”

His idea — which he says he’s already put $1 billion into and has signed up tech heavies like Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung to help with — is to make it cheaper and easier to access the Internet. The focus appears to be mobile technology, which is another pet project of Zuckerberg’s/Facebook’s.

“We want to make it so that anyone, anywhere — a child growing up in rural India who never had a computer — can go to a store, get a phone, get online, and get access to all of the same things that you and I appreciate about the Internet,” Zuckerberg explained.

“They’re going to use it to decide what kind of government they want, get access to healthcare for the first time ever, connect with family hundreds of miles away that they haven’t seen in decades.”

There are over 4.5 billion people on Earth without access, out of 7 billion total. Although there are gaps in places one might expect like Eritrea (where only 0.8% of people have access), even in the U.S. there are 19& without Internet.

Zuckerberg wants the Earth to be a land where all its citizens have the “same ability to share their opinions and speak freely — I think that would be a much better place.”

“Connectivity is a human right,” he added.

I want to know how Internet.org wasn’t already a registered domain name. Although I suppose if you’re The Zuck, you can afford to buy out whichever name you want.

Mark Zuckerberg’s big idea: The ‘next 5 billion’ people [CNNMoney]