In the 21st century that we’re living, the Internet is like an everyday-use thing for most people living in the Western or developed world, as frequent as breathing if I could say. The Internet has become so important to each of us that it changes the way we do things on a daily basis such as online banking without actually going to the bank, the way we receive news, the way we communicate with one another and many more. The growth of internet users are expanding more than. According to Internet Live Stats, ever from 1 billion users in 2005 to 3.1 billion users today.
This being said, around 40% of the world have internet access easily but what about the other 60% of the people? This has caused a global divide that is called the digital divide where information and communication technology are not equally divided around the world to those who does not have the access to the internet due to economic or social inequality. (Ali, A.H. 2011)
Basically, majority of the divide is between the developed and developing world but the divide had gotten smaller over the years but remains significant. What factors are causing this global divide to occur all over the world?
- Internet technologies are too expensive
- Services and plans are too expensive
- Not all places are connected and have networks
- Language barriers (not all contents are readable to users)
If you’ve faced this issues or are facing it, don’t fret, because Facebook is doing something massive to bridge this global digital divide all around the world. CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has come up with a not for profit coalition Internet.org by Facebook to help connect the 60% of the world together. It aims to provide internet equally for everyone by making it affordable. Huge technology leaders such as Samsung and Nokia also participated in this coalition. If you’ve been on YouTube for the past few weeks, you might have seen the advertisement going on before your video starts playing to increase awareness and to gather sponsors.
Zuckerberg mentioned that getting access to the internet is a really big deal for everyone today. He also emphasised that “connectivity is a human right” in an interview with CNN (watch the interview here) He also imagines a world where the society are able to have the same capacity to share their opinions and speak freely. (Griffin, 2013) With the ability to internet access equally, everyone around the world is interconnected and can communicate almost instantly and conveniently that will bridge or close the global digital divide around the world.
Thank you to Facebook, this coalition might be a huge success and will bring a huge change and impact on how the world works by closing the gap.
Ali, A.H 2011, ‘The Power of Social Media in Developing Nations: New Tools for Closing the Global Digital Divide and Beyond’, Harvard Human Rights Journal, vol.24, viewed 15 April 2015, <http://harvardhrj.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/185-220.pdf>
Griffin, J 2013, Mark Zuckerberg’s big idea: The ‘next 5 billion’ people, CNN: Money, viewed 15 April 2015, <http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/20/technology/social/facebook-zuckerberg-5-billion/>
Lynch, J 2013, Will Facebook’s Internet.org Bridge the Global Digital Divide? Tech soup for libraries, viewed 15 April 2015, <https://www.techsoupforlibraries.org/blog/will-facebook’s-internetorg-bridge-the-global-digital-divide>