Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says that advertising is not a "near term" priority for its Internet.org initiative.
The initiative is created to help people in the developing world get free access to the basic internet services. The scheme was launched by Facebook in 2013, with the help of other companies like Samsung, Qualcomm, Ericsson and Nokia.
However, this being Facebook, its motives have often been questioned, and in a recent interview the social media’s CEO gave to Bloomberg (opens in new tab), he's not planning on advertising to the developing world – just yet.
“I’m not sure it’s a big part of the solution in the near term, to be honest. What we need to do is work out a model with operators and governments and local partners that is profitable for them so we can continue growing the Internet,” he said.
The goal is to persuade telecom firms to invest in the internet infrastructure and get people online for a few basic services. Then they should start paying for mobile data plans.
“Originally, we thought that maybe working with other kinds of partners would be important, but at this point, we think we have a sustainable model that is working in multiple countries now, and there’s a lot of momentum and a lot of countries coming online now,” said Zuckerberg.
However, spreading the advertising business into the third world is something of a long-term goal, Zuckerberg admitted: “In a lot of these countries, there isn’t a very big ad market yet.
"So it’s not that we won’t do it eventually, but for right now and our business, the main thing that we need to continue to do is focus on the quality of the ads,” he said.