View From Rome

View from Rome

01 September 2016 | by Christopher Lamb


Social media are often all about “me, me, me”. People seem to be permanently glued to their smartphones, endlessly posting photos of themselves making out they are enjoying a perfect life. That’s not what drives Pope Francis, though: when he met Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg this week, it was to talk about alleviating poverty and to examine the ways the digital world can benefit the most disadvantaged.

Improving internet access is a way of stimulating economic growth while bolstering infrastructure and it’s something Facebook has been pushing recently with its special solar-powered drone, a carbon fibre aircraft. Zuckerberg gave a model of the drone, named Aquila, as a present to the Pope following their meeting on Monday. The drone is equipped with laser technology that beams internet signals to people who are without online access.

Facebook also has a feature that allows users to declare they are safe during a crisis – and Zuckerberg’s appearance in Rome this week was part of a tour to Italy following the country’s earthquake.

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