While techies Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg addressed the United Nations about connecting the entire world by 2020, the Pope spoke out against the more unfortunate side effects of social media.
Pope Francis spoke yesterday of “radical loneliness” in Pennsylvania. Basically, he said that our online culture, especially “accumulating followers on any of the social networks,” and “consumption” is leading to a lack of real connections and superficiality.
Meanwhile, over in U.N. land this weekend, Gates and Zuckerberg were advocating for more Internet access on a global scale, according to this report from USA Today via King 5.
“Zuckerberg and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates led a high-powered contingent whose goal is to bring Internet access to everyone in the world by 2020 — part of a U.N. effort to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030,” USA Today reported. “U.N. officials estimate half the world does not have reliable access, especially women and girls, whose education and health is crucial to anti-poverty efforts.”
It’s long been known that Zuck wants everyone to connect — a.k.a. be on Facebook — but he’s also now a major player in a larger campaign launched this weekend called Connect the World with none other than U2 Bono’s ONE organization. The duo wrote about the importance of everyone having Internet access in the New York Times on Saturday.
“The Internet should not belong to only three billion people, as it does today,” Bono and Zuckerberg wrote in the Times. “It should be seen as a necessity for development, and a tool that makes larger things possible.”
The Connect the World campaign is being supported by an “array of technologists and activists,” including Bill and Melinda Gates. Bill Gates posted earlier this month to his blog about his support for the Global Goals initiative — a separate set of philanthropic goals — which he also was in talks about at this weekend’s big U.N. meetings with world leaders.
All told, two opposing and fascinating viewpoints on what this tool is doing for humankind.
See the Pope’s speech via AP on YouTube below: