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Facebook announces a bundle of initiatives to accelerate digital literacy efforts in India

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At the second edition of the South Asia Safety Summit, Facebook has announced a bundle of initiatives to accelerate digital literacy efforts in India. These included a content partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), formation of an Ideal Internet Consortium to propose recommendations for online child safety and launch of We Think Digital in India; company’s global digital literacy program.

The South Asia Safety Summit is Facebook’s annual event to host critical conversations pertaining to digital safety and security. The summit was joined by over 100 organisations from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and India.

Highlighting the partnership with Facebook, Minister for Women and Child Development, Smriti Zubin Irani, said, “While the internet opens doors for women and children to learn and gain knowledge, it also comes with the responsibility to ensure their safety, and to enable them to express their views without any apprehension. Our constant effort has been to progress the cause of equal opportunity for women and ensure a safe environment for children. Together with Facebook, we want to build ways, in which we equip and educate people to help them make smarter choices online and learn about Internet safety.”

  • Partnership with the Ministry of Women Child Development to pursue opportunities to build digital literacy to keep more women and children safe, by raising awareness about online privacy, safety and security.
  • Facebook announced the formation of Ideal Internet Consortium: Led by the Aarambh India Initiative, Ideal Internet Consortium, is a unique working group of child safety practitioners, that will use real field experience and research to deliberate over safety issues and propose recommendations for civil society, industry and government. So far, the consortium has had seven focus group discussions with young people from cites across Odisha, Tripura, Jharkhand and Kerala. The findings will help to create strategies focused on keeping young users safe online.
  • Launch of We Think Digital: Facebook is committed to supporting economic growth and social good in India and is working with partners to train more than 5 million people by 2021. As part of this effort, Facebook announced the launch of We Think Digital, its global digital literacy program and will partner with agencies from both government and civil society. The program will make use of learning modules designed to equip people with skills, including the ability to think critically about what they see online, how to communicate respectfully, and engage in digital discourse.

Ankhi Das, Director of Public Policy for Facebook – India, South & Central Asia, remarked, “Our digital literacy efforts are focused on addressing specific problem areas in the social media world, which are essentially about how we connect to and interact with people and our online ethics and behavior. We are building programs, that are aimed at internet users’ digital hygiene and maintaining online privacy and security.”

These announcements build over the company’s ongoing efforts on safety and well-being, with partners including Common Service Centre Academy, Centre for Social Research, National Commission for Women, IAMAI, Cyber Peace Foundation to provide digital literacy to women in India. To double up efforts, Facebook has also been making some fundamental changes in product like Instagram’s global test of making like counts private as well as new safety features like ‘Restrict’, that protect your account from unwanted interactions.


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