Facebook and MWCD partner to roll out initiatives promoting digital literacy in India

The social media giant partners with the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) to promote online safety and launches We Think Digital, the company’s global digital literacy program

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 19, 2019 5:56 PM
Facebook digital literacy

At the second edition of the South Asia Safety Summit, Facebook 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), the formation of an Ideal Internet Consortium to propose recommendations for online child safety and the launch of We Think Digital in India, the 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 organizations from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and India.

Highlighting the partnership with Facebook, the Hon. Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. 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 ensures 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.”

In partnership with the Ministry of Women Child Development to raise awareness about online privacy, safety and security many initiatives have been launched by Facebook.  To begin with, the #CreateCareConnect comic series was launched to educate young users about online safety in a simple, fun and engaging way.

In 2020, Facebook will launch another Thumbstoppers campaign, which will be a series of short creative mobile videos under 10 seconds from India’s advertising community, that will focus on empowering and educating people on issues like gender equality, domestic violence and education for the girl child.

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 cities across  Odisha, Tripura, Jharkhand, and Kerala. The findings will help to create strategies focused on keeping young users safe online. 

With the launch of We Think Digital, its global digital literacy program 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, it 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. 

Speaking at the event, 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 products 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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