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Facebook to train five million people with digital skills by 2021

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Social media giant Facebook has said it aims to train five million people on skills to help them use the digital media to expand their business and access global markets. The US-based company, which counts India as one of its largest markets, has already trained about one million people through its various initiatives.

“Facebook is committed to enabling small businesses to reach the global economy, and we are partnering various organisations to reach out to people. We are committed to training 5 million people with digital skills and global market access by 2021,” Facebook Public Policy Director (India, South and Central Asia) Ankhi Das said. She added that with 10 ongoing programs, Facebook has already trained one million people across 150 cities and 48,000 villages with support from 50 partners. These efforts — where the users are trained on using Facebook and photo-sharing platform, Instagram to build their business – are being organised under Facebook’s Community Boost programme.

“At Facebook, we want to ensure that the benefits of connectivity are realised by everyone, everywhere, in India. Our mission at Facebook is to empower local entrepreneurs with digital skills so that they can grow their business,” she said. The training modules for these businesses in digital marketing and online safety — developed by Facebook — are available in 14 local languages.

Facebook’s programme reach 29 states in India and have received strong response in states like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Odisha and Rajasthan among others. Asked about steps being taken to curb abusive and hate speech on the platform, including those for businesses, Das said the company has already taken down over 1.5 billion pieces of content this year that were in that realm.

“We take the issue of hate speech, abuse very seriously. We are cognizant of our responsibility. We have partnered with civil society organisations to (jointly) work on community education. Apart from a big team of reviewers globally, we are also deploying AI (artificial intelligence) tool to flag such content,” she explained.

On political ads, Das said the issue is an important one and the company is working on it. Facebook vice president for public policy Richard Allan had, in October, had said the company will unveil a political ads archive for India before the 2019 general elections. This, he had said, would allow civil society to be able to go and see what activity is taking place and if there is anything suspicious, they can ask questions.

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