Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said social media changed his life.
Visiting Silicon Valley this weekend, Modi sat down Sunday with Mark Zuckerberg at a townhall-style meeting at Facebook’s headquarters.
Modi, who has 15.2 million Twitter followers and 30 million likes on his Facebook page, said social media is a key tool for diplomacy. He’s an avid poster and frequently shares pictures and personal dispatches from meetings and events.
Zuckerberg said Modi is “setting an example” for how world leaders should connect with their citizens.
But there are about one billion people in India — or 80% of its population — without Internet access. Zuckerberg said connecting them is one of “the greatest opportunities available to humanity today.”
He said it also played a key role in his own education. Modi comes from a poor family and worked as a tea seller in his youth.
“I wasn’t fortunate enough to get a lot of knowledge, but I was able to make up for that through social media,” he said through a translator. “That was how my world was able to move, it brought about a big change in my way of thinking.”
Modi also responded to concerns that he’s not implementing business-friendly refoms fast enough in India. He said there’s “unprecedented competition” among India’s state governments to lift regulations, and he expects to move up in the IMF’s Ease of Doing Business rankings.