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Facebook partners nine NGOs in Africa for safer Internet

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Social media platform, Facebook, is partnering with nine non-profit organisations and government agencies throughout sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to raise awareness about Internet safety and security for Safer Internet Day, celebrated yesterday, February 11, with the theme “Together for a better Internet”.

The partners Facebook is working with this year include: Watoto Watch Network, Kenya; Paradigm Initiative, Nigeria; Child Online Africa, Ghana; Youth First Madagascar, Madagascar; Computing and Information Association, Tanzania; Asikana Network, Zambia; Digify Africa, South Africa; Phambano Technology Development Centre NPC, South Africa, and Diana Schwarz Attorneys, South Africa

Strategic Media Partnerships Manager for Facebook in sub-Saharan Africa, Jocelyne Muhutu-Rémy, said: “We’re committed to ensuring Facebook and Instagram are places for everyone, especially the youths. That’s why we offer a range of tools on our platforms to give people full control over their experience and work with our partners to drive awareness about the practices, resources, and tools people can use to protect their online wellbeing.”

The firm explained that young people can benefit from the following Facebook and Instagram safety tools and resources: new tools on Instagram that filter comments that may be inappropriate, offensive or bullying -including keyword filtering, sensitivity screens, offensive comment, and bullying filters.

“On Instagram we’ve created new ways to help stop bullying before it happens. If someone writes a comment or caption for a feed post that our AI detects as potentially offensive, they will receive a prompt that the language used is similar to language that has been reported for bullying.

They will then have an opportunity to edit the caption or comment before posting.

“The Instagram Safety Centre (instagram-together.com) is a place where you can learn more about the safety features on Instagram,” Facebook stated.

The American firm said that the Youth Portal, which is a central place for teens to get a better understanding of Facebook’s products, hear from other peers, and get tips and advice on controlling their experience. This is part of the safety centre, a resource for topics like suicide prevention, social resolution and bullying prevention.

It pointed out that the use of artificial intelligence will help identify when someone might be expressing though of suicide, including on Facebook Live and Instagram Live.

Commenting, Executive Director at Watoto Watch Network, Lillian Kariuki, said: “With more and more young people in Africa gaining Internet access, it’s important to drive awareness among teens, parents, caregivers and educators about the tools available to stay safe online. We are proud to partner with Facebook in this effort.”

On his part, Digital Inclusion Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative, Tosin Abolaji, technology tools allow young people/youth to access opportunities in the digital space and opens them to a powerful portal to knowledge, growth, and community. “But it’s also important forNGOs, schools, and platforms to work together to help these young people understand how they can get the best and safest experience from this invaluable resource.”

Executive Director at Child Online Africa, Awo Aidam Amenyah, “The pillars of education have evolved beyond the usual reading, writing and mathematics to include Digital Literacy. The support from Facebook to unpack the discussion across the continent about Digital Literacy and Computer Literacy helps to overcome the technological gaps and is commendable.”


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