Mark Zuckerberg announces prize money of US$250,000 for a contest in India

“Connectivity can’t just be a privilege for some of the rich and powerful, it needs to be something that everyone shares, and an opportunity for everyone,” announced Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday as he launched a contest, backed by Facebook in India. The last date for submitting entries is 31st January, 2015.


The contest aims to promote the creation of apps, websites and online services for women, students, farmers and migrant workers in India, according to PC World. Facebook has sponsored a prize of US$250,000 for each category. Apart from this, FbStart: Facebook’s program to support app developers, will also award a package of tools and services worth $60,000 to the winners.


A research conducted by McKinsey and Company and Facebook, revealed that currently 4.4 billion people do not have access to the internet and 3.4 billion of them live in 20 countries and come from rural areas and have low-income or/and are elderly, female and illiterate. The research also revealed that women in developing countries are 25 % less likely to be connected by internet than men.


PC World reported Zuckerberg saying that in India, 243 million out of the population of 1.2 billion people have access to the Internet and over 100 million of them are already on Facebook. The Facebook founder also announced that he will be meeting the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.


[Picture Courtesy: India.com]

The speculated issues both of them might discuss include the removal of content considered offensive or religiously sensitive on their websites, an issue India has had previously with US internet companies. The other could be over tax policies and storing of user data locally by Internet companies.


A collaborative effort by Facebook and other tech companies like Ericsson and Samsung, Internet.org was launched last year. Their aim is to make the Internet accessible to the world’s population who are not connected to the web.