Mark Zuckerberg, Pope Francis talk technology and charitable giving

Facebook founder says he’ll ‘never forget’ meeting with pontiff at Vatican

Pope Francis (L) with Mark Zuckerberg at the Vatican on August 29, 2016 (Facebook photo)
Pope Francis (L) with Mark Zuckerberg at the Vatican on August 29, 2016 (Facebook photo)

ROME — Pope Francis talked technology and charitable giving with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, during a private audience at the Vatican.

“It was a meeting we’ll never forget,” Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, posted on his Facebook page following the audience Monday. “You can feel his warmth and kindness, and how deeply he cares about helping people.”

A Vatican statement said Zuckerberg and the pope “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.”

On his Facebook page, Zuckerberg posted a picture of himself presenting the pontiff with a model of a Facebook internet drone. He wrote that he and Chan told the pope “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 added: “We also discussed the importance of connecting people, especially in parts of the world without internet access. 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 Twitter and Instagram accounts, but does not have a personal Facebook page.

The audience was the latest in a series of meetings the pope has held with high-level figures in the tech and IT world in recent months. In January he held separate private audiences with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Eric Schmidt, the executive chair of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Francis met with Kevin Systrom, the co-founder of Instagram, in February.

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