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Facebook Founder Pledges to Help Indonesia Expand Internet Access

Indonesian President-elect Joko Widodo, center, speaks with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, right, during their visit to a market in Jakarta, Indonesia, Oct 13, 2014.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has pledged to help expand Internet access in Indonesia after meeting with President-elect Joko Widodo.

At a joint press conference in Jakarta Monday, Zuckerberg said that while Facebook cannot do it alone, it wants and needs partners like Indonesia to expand the Internet to poor and remote communities.

"Our hope is that, for countries that have really progressive leadership and want all of their citizens to be connected, which you certainly do here, and for countries that have good telecom operators that are also committed to connecting everyone in their countries, which I think you do here as well, then there is a good opportunity for the government and the telecom operators and the folks who are building these services for people to use, to all partner together to try to connect everyone," Zuckerberg said.

Widodo, who takes office later this month, said that with nearly 70 million Indonesians using Facebook, he wants to see the service evolve into a real benefit for the nation.

"I spoke with Mark on the many usages of Facebook in Indonesia. We also discussed on how to utilize Facebook in Indonesia in the context of spurring small and medium businesses," Widodo said. "And Zuckerberg told me that he is willing to work with us."

Indonesia has one of the highest rates of Facebook usage in the world, but many of the country's 240 million people live in poverty or on remote islands and still lack basic Internet access.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Indonesian service

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