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Facebook CEO Gives Pope Drone During Vatican Visit


Pope Francis meets Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, at the Santa Marta residence, the guest house in Vatican City where the pope lives, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke says a topic of discussion at Monday’s 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.’’ (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

Pope Francis meets Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, at the Santa Marta residence, the guest house in Vatican City where the pope lives, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke says a topic of discussion at Monday’s 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.’’ (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg met Pope Francis at the Vatican Monday and gave him a high-tech gift -- a drone.

However, it was not a working drone. His gift was a model of the aircraft Facebook plans to use to bring internet access to people in developing countries.

Zuckerberg posted a picture on Facebook showing him presenting the model drone to the Pope at his Santa Marta residence in Vatican City.

“We gave him a model of Aquila, our solar-powered aircraft that will beam internet connectivity to places that don't have it,” he explained.

The businessman’s wife, Priscilla Chan, also attended. Zuckerberg said they were touched by the meeting. “You can feel his warmth and kindness, and how deeply he cares about helping people.”

He praised Pope Francis for finding “new ways to communicate with people of every faith around the world.”

The Facebook founder and his wife launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in December 2015. He said he spoke with the pope about the initiative’s goal “to advance human potential and promote equality” in all parts of the world.

The organization works on many issues. They include personal learning, fighting disease, connecting people and building strong communities, according to information on its website.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said one topic discussed 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.”

Facebook disaster help

Zuckerberg announced he was traveling to Italy after a deadly 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the country last week. Nearly 300 people died in the quake, which hit the central part of the country.

In a Facebook post, he expressed concern for victims of the earthquake and their loved ones. Facebook has tried to improve communication during disasters. A few years ago it launched its Safety Check system. The program allows users to let loved ones know they are OK after a disaster or terrorist attack.

In Italy, Zuckerberg held a live question and answer session with Facebook community members.

The Facebook founder also met in Rome with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. He said the two discussed the earthquake, and how technology is creating jobs to help Italy’s economy.

Zuckerberg spoke about Facebook’s efforts to provide equipment to researchers across Europe to study artificial intelligence.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from VOA News and the Associated Press. Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. What international causes would you like to see Facebook get involved in? Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

dronen. a small flying machine flown remotely by a pilot

beamv. to send out streams of light

faithn. a system of religious beliefs

potential – adj. capable of becoming something real

alleviatev. make something less difficult or painful

encountern. meeting and interacting with others

artificial intelligencen. the development of computers to perform intelligence-related tasks without human involvement

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