Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has told the Mobile World Congress that the company purchased WhatsApp to help with the shared vision of connecting everyone in the world.
Zuckerberg was keen to promote the growing movement that is Internet.org, which aims to make the internet affordable and accessible to all.
The movement says that devices as well as service plans and data are too expensive for those who are not connected to the internet.
Zuckerberg told the Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, Spain, that there’s a set of basic services that should exist for all, such as access to weather information and Wikipedia.
He highlighted that these are all mostly text-based services which can be provided by low data plans that do not need to expensive to the customer.
He said internet growth across the world was slower than most people think it has been and in order to be able to connect everyone in the world Facebook has to connect with a lot of companies to achieve this.
Speaking at the congress he said: “Most people in the world do not have access to the internet. It’s only about a third of people that have connection to the internet.”
When questioned on the longer term promise for the operator who would be providing this service alongside Facebook and other companies, he defended the Internet.org scheme by saying that by providing a basic service it would show people how data plans are “rational and good for them” and would increase their internet consumption and knowledge of the world.
He was speaking just days after his company completed the acquisition of social messaging service WhatsApp for $19bn and the first question put to him was about Facebook’s purchase of the company.
“WhatsApp is a great company and is a great fit for us. It’s the most engaging app that we have ever seen existing on mobile so far,” Zuckerberg said.
“What we see is that WhatsApp is on a path to connecting more than a billion people.”
He said that he wanted to help WhatsApp with its dream of connecting everyone in the world.
Video still courtesy of Mobile World Live.