Why should Indians care about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg donating 99% of his Facebook stakes?

Why should Indians care about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg donating 99% of his
Facebook stakes?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla are proud parents of daughter Maxima. Following this good news was another startling announcement. Mark would give up 99% of his Facebook shares (currently worth a whopping $45 billion) during his lifetime to ‘improve this world for the next generation’.

The couple has also published an open letter to their newborn daughter where they speak about the world they hope she grows up in. The letter offers a sneak peek into the minds of the couple and what they plan to do with their money. First things first, ‘advancing human potential’ and ‘promoting equality’ are big words, but also a little vague.

The final question boils down to, ‘Apna kya hai?’ (What’s in it for us?) So here is what Zuckerberg’s commitment might mean to Indians across the country.

For one, this money is most certainly coming out through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and over a lifetime. So if anybody’s been dreaming of a sudden $45 billion money rush, wake up partner.

·The words ‘Personalized learning tools’ keep popping up every now and then in the letter. Facebook is currently working with several academicians and students on a platform that would enable young students with access to a computer to educate themselves. It’s quite unlike EdX or MIT Open CourseWare in the sense that it’s expected to be geared more towards the development of young minds. Zuckerberg claims the ‘results are already promising’. India’s semi-urban and rural schools can benefit from the scheme, given this platform is open, completely free and is offered as an add-on in the Internet.Org package.

·Zuckerberg is obsessed with the internet and its potential to create a difference in people’s lives. He points out the ‘greatest opportunities for your generation’ is online. Read it as there is no stopping Internet.Org.

· The Facebook CEO also claims they would be partnering with schools, health centers, parent groups and local governments, and ensuring all children are well fed and cared for starting young. However, how much of that aid money is actually going to land up in India is the billion dollar question. Let’s simply hope Modi’s trip to Facebook headquarters is still on his mind. Mitron, bhul na jana! (Keep us in mind!)

·Last but not the least, Zuckerberg mentions the need to participate in policy and advocacy to shape debates. You can read this in two ways – there would be many more Facebook town-halls, or that Zuckerberg would be meeting many more heads of countries from now to facilitate Internet access. Hope our telecom ministry takes a listen to his wise words.

That’s all folks!

Image credit: Indiatimes