Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg joined the 2016 election debate on Tuesday by criticizing one of the central planks of the campaign of Republican candidate Donald Trump.
"I'm starting to see people and nations turning inwards against this idea of a global community," Zuckerberg said at the opening of the company's annual F8 developers conference in San Francisco. "I hear voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others."
Without naming Trump, the CEO also criticized those who want to curb immigration and "in some cases around the world even cutting access to the Internet."
He told a packed auditorium at San Francisco’s Fort Mason center: “Instead of building walls we can help build bridges. Instead of dividing people we can connect people. We do it one person at a time, one connection at time. That’s why I think the work we’re doing together is more important than it has even been before,” he said.
The Internet is fundamental to Facebook as its business depends on connecting more users.
Zuckerberg on Tuesday laid out a 10-year technology roadmap, including several new projects, from virtual reality to automated communications.
As part of Facebook's goal to connect the entire world, Zuckerberg highlighted Free Basics, a limited version that allows access to Internet sites and basic services. It has generated widespread rejection in India, where the government has not authorized it.
Zuckerberg announced that Free Basics had already reached 25 million users. He also cited the 1DOC3 application to find doctors and make free health consultations. However, he noted that only a third of the world's population - 2 billion people in the wealthiest countries - have Internet access today.
Future projects included Aquila, a high altitude autonomous plane designed to beam internet access to parts of the developing world. The plane will fly at 60,000ft, around twice the height of commercial airliners, and can stay airborne for several months at a time.
Also on his list, Gear VR, Facebook’s low end virtual reality goggles which Zuckerberg said will “change the way we all experience the world."
Zuckerberg gave a demonstration of new chatbots inside the Messenger Platform that can provide automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates, as well as customized communications like receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages.
"You'll never have to call 1-800-Flowers again," he said.