Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has a big, expensive goal: to connect the world to the Internet. He spoke with Emily Chang about his plans, after returning from a trip through Southeast Asia and India last year as part of his Internet.org initiative. The interview airs Feb. 19 on Bloomberg Television’s Studio 1.0. The transcript below has been lightly edited.
You are a year and half into this. Tell me your vision; tell me what inspired you to do this.
Zuckerberg: When people are connected, we can just do some great things. They have the opportunity to get access to jobs, education, health, communications. We have the opportunity to bring the people we care about closer to us. It really makes a big difference. The Internet is how we connect to the modern world, but today, unfortunately, only a little more than a third of people have access to the Internet at all. It’s about 2.7 billion people, and that means two-thirds of people don’t have any access to the Internet. So that seems really off to me.
There are all these studies that show that in developing countries, more than 20 percent of GDP growth is driven by the Internet. There have been studies that show if we connected a billion more people to the Internet, 100 million more jobs would be created, and more than that would be lifted out of poverty. So there is just this deep belief here at Facebook that technology needs to serve everyone. Connectivity just can’t be a privilege for people in the richest countries. We believe that connecting everyone in the world is one of the great challenges of our generation, and that’s why we are happy to play whatever small part in that that we can.
What has been your single greatest achievement, and what has been your biggest setback?