Pope Francis meets Mark Zuckerberg and his wife at the Vatican
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday.
On Monday Pope Francis met with Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of social networking giant Facebook, at the Vatican, marking the latest in a string of visits from other major tech-heads this year.
“And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” John 17:11 (KJV)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Using a title stolen from God, the “holy father” held a meeting today with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. It’s rather odd why a person like Pope Francis, who claims to be technologically ignorant, has such a strong desire to meet with all the world’s top technology people. What do you suppose he’s assembling? Hmm…
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said one topic of discussion at the meeting was “how to use communication technologies to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and make a message of hope arrive, especially to those most in need.”
Zuckerberg gave the Pope a miniature model of Aquila, the solar-powered drone Facebook wants to use for beaming the internet to countries with no access.
The atmosphere appeared informal, with the chat taking place in the Santa Marta residence, the guest house in Vatican City where the pope lives.
His meeting with Zuckerberg and Chan marks the fourth time he has met with a major tech head this year.
On Jan. 15 he welcomed Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, for a private meeting at the Vatican. A week later, he granted another private audience to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The Pope has also made an effort to engage with big name celebrities who share topics of interest such as Leonardo DiCaprio, with whom he met Jan. 28 in an encounter that focused on issues related to climate change and the environment.
He has also started to make waves on social media, opening a Twitter account in 2012 and launching his own Instagram March 19, just weeks after his Feb. 26 meeting with the CEO and co-founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
The reason behind Francis’ meeting with Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook with college roommates and fellow students at Harvard in 2004, could be prompted by Zuckerberg and Chan’s decision in 2015 to give away virtually all of their $45 billion in Facebook Inc. shares.
As of August 2016, Zuckerberg has an estimated net worth of $53.7 billion, making him one of the top 5 richest people in the world.
When Pope Francis notes, then, as he has frequently done, that according to some studies “80% of the world’s riches are in the hands of 17% of the population,” he’s referring to Zuckerberg.
However, after their daughter Maxina was born in late 2015, Zuckerberg and Chan announced Dec. 2, 2015, in an open letter to her that they would be donating 99 percent of their Facebook stock during their lives through the “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative,” aimed at advancing human potential and promoting equality “for all children in the next generation.”
In May, a report from Gizmodo dropped the equivalent of a social media bomb when several former Facebook employees said the company routinely suppressed conservative news in the social media giant’s “trending news” section.
The former Facebook news curators said they were sometimes instructed to insert stories into the “trending” section that had not earned enough attention to be a trending topic, or that they had the freedom to “blacklist” topics that they didn’t want to appear in the section, meaning that the section was not organically curated by the interests of other Facebook users, contrary to popular thought.
Although Facebook denied any allegations of bias and said they had launched an investigation into the issue, the episode has left many skeptical, and doubts remain.