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Mark Zuckerberg’s address got political as he kicked off Facebook’s developer’s conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, warning of “fearful voices calling for building walls.”
The Facebook CEO didn’t mention Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump by name, but commentators on social media certainly took his words as a jab at the businessman who has made proposing a wall along America’s southern border a pillar of his campaign pitch.
“As I look around and as I travel the world, I’m starting to see people and nations turning inward, against this idea of a connected world and a global community,” said Zuckerberg, who has spearheaded efforts to bring the internet to unconnected portions of the globe. “I hear fearful voices calling for building walls and distancing people they label as others. For blocking free expression, for slowing immigration, reducing trade and in some cases around the world even cutting access to the Internet.”
While Trump’s comments have certainly seized international attention, Facebook has dealt with more direct challenges to its business from countries around the world in recent months. The company’s Free Basics service, which provides a no-charge version of internet, was locked out of Egypt at the end of last year. In February, regulators in India effectively banned Free Basics under a new set of rules.
A Facebook executive was detained and then released in Brazil earlier this year as authorities there sought information from the popular messaging service WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook and has more than 1 billion users worldwide. Facebook was also among the major tech companies that recently supported Apple as it fought a government request to unlock a terrorist's phone in California.
Facebook’s F8 conference will continue through Wednesday in San Francisco.