We all first have learnt about Mark Zuckerberg back in 2004, and today, 12 years later, some people still refer to him as “that guy who created Facebook.” However, Mark’s achievements go far beyond Facebook, which nowadays is not only a social network but a fully-fledged social media and powerful marketing tool. It is Mark who gave us Instagram Stories, 360° photos and live videos. It is Mark who held the first ever online video conference with the astronauts at the International Space Station. And finally, it is Mark who is promoting equality and education under the auspices of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that he runs together with his wife, Priscilla.
Currently, Mark is undertaking business trips to Africa, where he meets local entrepreneurs and developers. While he is busy seeing how people all around the globe work towards connecting the world, we are going to take a closer look at the major initiatives he is implementing.
The Safety Check feature was introduced in 2014, and since then has been activated in various corners of the world at times of natural and human-made disasters, terrorist attacks and other tragedies. This tool locates a user’s position with the help of background information and geolocation services and sends a notification asking whether they are safe if they happen to be in the affected area. By clicking the “I’m Safe” button, the user notifies friends that they are out of danger.
Nowadays, people often use the Internet and social media to connect with their loved ones during the most turbulent and unsafe times. This makes Safety Check a crucial new tool to find out who might be in danger, and provide assistance to those who need it.
This unprecedentedly ambitious idea has recently been put through, as the first solar-powered Aquila plane took off the ground on June, 28. This is a lightweight device with a huge wingspan, sailing across the sky at a low speed, and delivering internet to the areas where people do not have it.
Though it still has a long way to go (the plane needs to be lighter, more energy-efficient, etc.), Mark dreams about creating a fleet of Aquilas that would be able to stay airborne for several months, connecting remote areas with the rest of the world.
OpenCellular continues Facebook’s work towards the world. It represents an open system wireless access platform that may be used for creating and operating wireless networks in places where the internet is not accessible.
According to the developers, despite its tiny size, OpenCellular can serve as a source of internet connection for up to 1,500 people within a 10-kilometre radius. A perfect solution for small communities living off the beaten track, isn’t it?
Internet.org comprises all major Facebook initiatives and projects aiming at bringing better connectivity to the modern world. These include:
- Free Basics that provides free access to news, job, health and educational websites, as well as to social media;
- Connectivity Lab, under the auspices of which engineers and developers are seeking technological solutions to the problem of internet access in remote areas. OpenCellular and Aquila are among the projects successfully launched under the Connectivity Lab initiative;
- Express Wi-Fi that is targeted at local entrepreneurs and developers, encouraging them to take an active part in providing affordable Internet access to their communities;
- Innovation Lab, where various network conditions are simulated to help developers see how their devices or applications will perform;
- Innovation Challenge that supports African and Indian entrepreneurs working on technological solutions facilitating access to the internet.
Year of Running challenge
Mark Zuckerberg’s activities have not been restricted to the technological sphere. At the beginning of 2016, he challenged himself to run 365 miles within the year and encouraged everyone to join him. Though at first sight, this might seem an impossible task, it only involved running a mile per day at whatever pace, which was attainable to practically anyone.
In the public group with more than 130,000 subscribers, which Mark created to share his progress, there are some amazing and inspiring success stories, people who have completed a marathon/quit smoking/improved their health/found new friends after having joined the challenge. This might be one of Mark’s biggest achievements yet!
With so many impressive attainments, Mark’s work does not stop here. We can only guess what heights his genius will lead him to, though I am strongly convinced he will continue challenging himself and everyone around him to make the world more equal, “user-friendly” and connected.