Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is at IIT Dehi, India for a Townhall Q&A. The Q&A session will be attended by around 900 students and other invitees. Yesterday, Zuckerberg spent the day at the Taj Mahal in Agra.
This is the first Townhall in India. Zuckerberg will be answering questions on his controversial Internet.org initiative and the ongoing net neutrality debate among others.
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12:15 PM: After some mediocre Bollywood music, Mark Zuckerberg has arrived on stage at the Dogra Hall, in IIT Delhi. Starts by talking about landing in India and the earthquake that happened in the Hindukush region.
Specifically talking about the feature that lets you mark yourself safe. "We have activated the safety check tool on Facebook. 150 million people in the community have been notified that their friends are safe"
12:16 PM: First question: "Why so much interest in India. Answer honestly."
Zuckerberg: "India is the worlds largest democracy. If we have a mission to connect everyone in the world, you cant do that without connecting people in India. India has 130 million Facebook users. There are a billion people who don't have access to the Internet in India."
"If a billion people don't have access to Internet, then connecting people in India is one of the most important things we can do in the world."
12:20 PM: Anikta, a raliways employee asks, "How do you wish to connect with those who are not on FB and those who are not even on the Internet?"
Zuckererg immediately starts by listing out the benefits of Facebook's Internet.org initiative.
He says that we have seen a lot of "cynical reporting" regarding the opposition to the initiative.
"Many people don't have access to Internet. So it's an opportunity to develop an economy here. Three things are really important for internet: network, affordability and awareness. We are working on all three areas."
"Internet.org has connected 15 million around the world to the Internet. We know this works"
12:26 PM: One of the most upvoted questions on the Facebook thread: "How do I stop getting invitations to that Candy Crush game?"
"We have a solution to that!" says Zuckerberg. "We are doing it.
The developer was notified. "There are some tools that are outdated which let people send people invites. We hadn't prioritised shutting it down."
"If it is the top priority, we will prioritize it."
I guess, if Facebook successfully gets this done, Candy Crush will lose some of its valuable market share.
12:30 PM: Sashwat asks an important question: Will the Oculus Rift be integrated to social media and how can developers get involved?
Simple answer: "People want a richer medium. This is what virtual reality and augmented reality can do."
12:32 PM: First IIT student question from Rachit: "Facebook investing a lot in AI. What are the future products we can expect from Facebook?"
""In 5 to 10 years we want to build a computer system that is better in basic human senses than humans." Then he says that we are "very very far off" from having computers that are more intelligent than humans. Well, robots are getting smarter, day by day. Computers also will rapidly get smarter. Zukerberg may not want AI to take over humans, but it will happen sooner rather than later.
One interested project that Facebook is working one where Aritifcial Intelligence can describes photos to blind people. That is something that is very interesting for the future.
12:36 PM: "How Facebook can help people below the poverty line and those who are illiterate?"
Zuckerberg talks about some of the projects that have been done in the US that have halped increase the percentage of graduate students. Facebook wants to spread education tools in India and replicate the model in Africa and America. He also says that Facebook is very interested in health and science and areas surrounding that. "India represents a big opportunity to work for curing various diseases.
12:41 PM: "If you are gifted any superpower from an alien? Which power will you ask for?"
"The good thing about technology is you can build any superpower you want." That superpower right now is Oculus Rift, Facebook's virtual reality device.
12:43 PM: Question from Miriam George, "Does Internet.org support Net neutrality 100 per cent?"
A net neutrality question finally!
Zuckerberg simply replies, "we do a lot to support net neutrality". A lot of countries are still figuring out their own net neutrality rules.
"What we cannot do it provide Internet for free" and Internet.org is a "neutral platform"
Net neutrality is an important discussion for the future. "Regulations are necessary," says Zuckerberg. "Most people rooting for net neutrality already have access to Internet." Well, of course, Zuckerberg. People who have access to Internet understand how important it is.
"If you have a student who has free net access that can help her education, what's the harm?"
"Zero-rating is necessary to ensure that we are able to connect everyone to the Internet."
"Internet.org and Facebook 100% support Net neutrality"
12:50 PM: Zuckerberg is asked about his visit to the Taj Mahal. "Did people recognise you?"
"Taj is great. It's one of those places, you see pictures and then when you go, it is even more awesome."
"It is difficult taking a picture of me." When talking about a woman trying to take a picture of him but instead fell of the sidewalk and into a bush.
Here are some tweets from the Twitter community:
12:54 PM: Audience question! "What was your Eureka moment? What is your main driving force?"
"Media tries to romanticise the eureka moment, but that is not so. I used to build a lot of things in school, but I never had a revelation that Facebook would be so big. You start off building something your care about."
Zuckerberg remembers watching Bill Gates give a talk at Harvard and wondering how he does. it. Zuckerberg got inspired by one his idols in the technology industry.
"People thought social media was a fad and people would stop using it after a while. People thought social media wouldn't make any money," says Zuckerberg.
12:58 PM: Student question, "Considering the startup was there everywhere and everyone comes up with an app. What are the elements of an idea that makes this startup?"
"There are people who want to start a company before they know what they are doing," answers Zuckerberg. "Focus on what you want to do for the world and not on starting a company."
1:08 PM: One last audience question. This time from Gargi: "Can we have some notifications about missing people, like the ones those who are marked as safe during calamities?"
"We have already launched Amber Alerts for missing children in the US," replies Zuckerberg. Talking about working with Governments to bring this to more countries around the world. One child has been found so far since it was launched in the US in January.
Zuckerberg take a big group picture and ends his Townhall at IIT, Delhi while Chak De India, plays in the background. The livestream on his Facebook pages cuts out moments before.