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Mark Zuckerberg and Bono want to bring the internet to refugee camps

“A ‘like’ or a post won’t stop a tank or a bullet, but when people are connected, we have the chance to build a common global community.”

FACEBOOK FOUNDER MARK Zuckerberg, U2 frontman Bono and Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates have thrown their weight behind the goal of bringing internet access to everyone in the world by 2020.

zuck Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan arrive for a State Dinner reception in honour of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC. Source: PA

The pledge comes amid a United Nations effort to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, a goal set on Friday during a special summit at the global body.

The internet became commonplace in developed countries in the 1990s, but UN officials estimate that half the world does not have reliable access — especially women and girls, whose education is vital to development.

Zuckerberg told the UN web access in refugee camps would help people source aid and stay connected to family members.

“When people have access to the tools and knowledge of the internet, they have access to opportunities that make life better for all of us,” a declaration signed by Zuckerberg and Bill and Melinda Gates, who have devoted their wealth to philanthropy, read.

“The internet belongs to everyone. It should be accessible by everyone.”

11999645_10102392564643071_1166325893986135670_o Zuckerberg and Bono Source: Facebook

Zuckerberg, swapping his trademark hoodie for a suit and tie, said that for every 10 people connected to the internet, one is lifted out of poverty.

“The internet is more than just a network of machines; it is the key driver of social and economic progress in our time,” Zuckerberg told a luncheon at the UN headquarters in New York attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Syria

The 31-year-old entrepreneur pointed to the role of the Internet in empowering otherwise voiceless people in places such as Syria, where civil war is producing a refugee exodus.

A ‘like’ or a post won’t stop a tank or a bullet, but when people are connected, we have the chance to build a common global community with a shared understanding — and that’s a powerful force.

He estimated that spreading the internet could also bring affordable education to 600 million children who would otherwise go unschooled.

Other signatories include Jimmy Wales, co-founder of free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, and Bono on behalf of his One anti-poverty campaign.

The U2 frontman and Zuckerberg have written an op-ed in the New York Times about their goal.

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