Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg continued with his short tour of Nigeria today with a public appearance at the Landmark Centre on Victoria Island, Lagos. The event, however, was an exclusive and invitation only soiree with a list of only 60 Nigerians, according to the Pulse NG.
SaharaReporters reported earlier that Mr. Zuckerberg arrived for a surprise visit to Nigeria yesterday and promptly traveled to Yaba, Nigeria’s tech and start-up epi-center, to meet with entrepreneurs and coders at the Co-creation Hub. It has since been learned that Mr. Zuckerberg’s trip to Nigeria was planned a few days in advance and would follow his trip to Rome, Italy.
Africa, and especially Nigeria, has featured prominently in Facebook’s overall strategy and in Mr. Zuckerberg’s philanthropic activities. Facebook launched a “FreeBasics” service which allows cellphone users in select countries like Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia to access select sites or information at no cost. This service, which greatly increases Facebook’s influence in certain developing countries, has come under fire from critics who view it as violating net neutrality guidelines.
During the Q&A session held at Landmark Centre, and broadcast at Eko Hotel in Lagos, it was revealed that Facebook plans to unroll its services in more Nigerian languages in the coming months. Presently, Hausa language is supported by Facebook.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s remarks emphasized his desire to work with local internet providers to increase internet access for all Nigerians. He also said that he wants Facebook to be the platform to ensure the who world is connected.