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How Is Facebook Planning To Accelerate Digital Literacy Efforts in India Facebook has partnered with MWCD to build digital literacy to safeguard women and children by raising awareness about online privacy, safety and security

By Shreya Ganguly

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Amid issues related to spread of fake news and online abuse,social media giant Facebook has announced a slew of India-focused initiatives including content partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), formation of an Ideal Internet Consortium to oversee online safety of children and launch of We Think Digital to accelerate digital literacy efforts in the country.

The initiatives were introduced on November 19 during Facebook's annual event, South Asia Safety Summit which was aimed at having critical conversations related to digital safety and security. Over 100 organizations from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and India were present at the summit.

Smriti Zubin Irani,Minister for Women and Child Development, believes that 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," say Irani.

Facebook's Efforts In India

  • Partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Development: Facebook has partnered with MWCD to build digital literacy to safeguard women and children by raising awareness about online privacy, safety and security. Under this:

  1. Facebook launched #CreateCareConnect comic series to educate young users about online safety in a simple, fun and engaging way;
  2. In 2020, Facebook plans to launch another Thumbstoppers campaign - a series of short creative mobile videos under 10 seconds from India's advertising community which will focus on empowering and educating people on issues like gender equality, domestic violence and education for the girl child.
  • Formation of Ideal Internet Consortium: Led by the Aarambh India Initiative, Ideal Internet Consortium is a working group of child safety practitioners who will use real field experience and research to deliberate over safety issues and propose recommendations for civil society, industry and government. The consortium has seven focus group discussions with young people from cities 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 announced the launch of We Think Digital, a global digital literacy program under which it will partner with agencies from both government and civil society. The program will use learning modules designed to teach people skills, including the ability to think critically about what they see online, how to communicate respectfully and engage in digital discourse.

Focus On India

The move comes at a time when the social media giant has been trying to gain the trust of the Indian authorities after several data breaches and privacy issues. To strengthen its position, the company has been taking several initiatives.

Earlier this month, Facebook India announced its partnership with venture capital firm SAIF Partners which counts companies such as MakeMyTrip, BookMyShow, Justdial.com, and Paytm in its portfolio, to support early-stage small and medium businesses (SMB). This partnership comes as a part of Facebook's VC Brand Incubator Program.

Shreya Ganguly

Former Features Writer

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