Mark Zuckerberg addressed a packed house in IIT Delhi in Facebook’s annual townhall session today. Answering pre-screened audience questions, he spoke about the importance of India for Facebook, while touching on net neutrality.
Continuing a theme seen in the townhall with PM Narendra Modi at Facebook’s HQ earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg reiterated the importance of India in the global connected ecosystem that has become a pet dream of the Facebook founder.
“More than 130 million people use Facebook in India. I’m looking forward to hearing directly from one of our most active and engaged communities. India is the world's largest democracy. If you want to connect everyone to Internet, can't leave India out,” he said.
Of course, Zuckerberg’s idea of a connected world involves the contentious Internet.org platform, now rebranded as Free Basics and he was quick to point out the significance of the platform. “For every 10 people that get access to Internet, one gets a job. Internet.org is live in 24 countries. 15 million people around the world now have access to Internet because of this initiative. In India over a million people have access to Internet as a result of these efforts,” he said.
Zuckerberg was also asked about his vision for the future and products that could be expected from the company and he was quick to reply that the primary way to consume and share information in the coming years will be video. “We are working a project where we can use AI to describe photos to blind people. In 5-10 yrs we want to be able to build computer systems which can recognize things around world, translate language better, understand language better," he said in response to a question on work Facebook is doing around artificial intelligence.
On net neutrality, Zuckerberg reiterated that the company was completely in support of the concept though he also pointed out that it was important to have zero rating as it allows people to get access to the internet.