Mark Zuckerberg is the latest tech CEO to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Following in the footsteps of Apple CEO Tim Cook, Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt, and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, Zuckerberg sat down with the Pontiff to discuss ways in which Facebook is connecting the world.
Accompanying Zuckerberg on the trip was his wife Priscilla Chan, with the couple also detailing their venture philanthropy projects.
Unlike his contemporaries, who arrived at the Vatican empty-handed, Zuckerberg turned up to the meeting with a gift for the Pope. But what do you give a man who has publicly denounced material possessions, claiming that they rob people of their humanity? Judging by that statement, it was probably a wise idea on Cook’s part not to gift the Pontiff an Apple Watch.
Zuckerberg gave the Pope a model of his company’s internet-serving drone, known as Aquila. Facebook’s real-life UAV recently completed its first test flight, and the company’s goal is to eventually fly the drones for three months at a time around locations where internet connectivity is scarce.
Pope Francis has previously declared the internet a “gift from God,” and emphasized the importance of building a connected society that is “healthy and open to sharing.” Judging by the photo shared by Zuckerberg, the Pope (pictured receiving the model from the Facebook CEO with a smile on his face) seemed pleased with the gift.
Writing about the experience in a Facebook post, Zuckerberg made parallels between the Pope’s mission of “communicating” with people around the world and his company’s goal of providing internet access to underserved regions.
“Priscilla and I had the honor of meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican. We told him how much we admire his message of mercy and tenderness,” states Zuckerberg. “It was a meeting we’ll never forget. You can feel his warmth and kindness, and how deeply he cares about helping people.”
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