Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg is in Rome this week, where he and wife Priscilla Chan met with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Continue Reading Below
"We told him how much we admire his message of mercy and tenderness, and how he's found new ways to communicate with people of every faith around the world," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.
"We also discussed the importance of connecting people, especially in parts of the world without internet access," Zuckerberg continued. "We gave him a model of Aquila, our solar-powered aircraft that will beam internet connectivity to places that don't have it. And we shared our work with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help people around the world."
The Pope has tried his hand at social media; he's on the Facebook-owned Instagram and Twitter. He has called the Internet "a gift from God," though he warned people not to "barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests."
Aquila is one tool in Facebook's arsenal of experimental Internet access delivery methods, which also include, satellites, lasers, and cellular access points. During a June test flight, Aquila remained in the air for 96 minutes, but it will eventually fly for weeks at a time, beaming Internet signals up to 60 miles away.
The Holy See press office confirmed that Pope Francis and Zuckerberg "spoke about how to use communication technologies to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and help deliver a message of hope, especially to those people who are most disadvantaged."
Before meeting with the Pope, Zuckerberg took a jog in Rome (pictured above), an activity that was hopefully less smoggy than his Beijing jaunt.