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Pope Francis, Zuckerberg: Communications tech a tool vs poverty

With his wife Priscilla Chan, the founder of the world’s largest online social networking service met with the head of the influential Roman Catholic Church at the pope’s guest house in Vatican City.

“They spoke about how to use communication technologies to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and help deliver a message of hope, especially to those people who are most disadvantaged,” said a statement released by the Holy See Press Office.
During the meeting, Zuckerberg gave the pope a model of the Facebook drone, the Aquila, a solar-powered aircraft that the company is deploying in its drive to expand Internet access to remote areas around the world.

“Priscilla and I had the honor of meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican. We told him how much we admire his message of mercy and tenderness, and how he’s found new ways to communicate with people of every faith around the world,” Zuckerberg said in a statement posted on his Facebook account.
“We also discussed the importance of connecting people, especially in parts of the world without internet access. We gave him a model of Aquila, our solar-powered aircraft that will beam internet connectivity to places that don’t have it.”

On June 28, the Aquila drone successfully completed a test flight for over 96 minutes over Arizona. The innovative plane, with a wingspan greater than a 737 passenger jet, is designed to beam Internet even to the world’s remotest areas.
The drone, weighing less than a small car, will eventually fly for weeks to deliver connectivity by sending out Internet signals up to 60 miles away.
Zuckerberg and his wife also shared with Pope Francis the couple’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which promotes human potential and equality.
“It was a meeting we’ll never forget. You can feel his warmth and kindness, and how deeply he cares about helping people,” Zuckerberg said.

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