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Helping Teens Avoid Sextortion Scams

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Takeaways:

●        Meta has worked with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to expand Take It Down to more countries and languages, allowing millions more teens to take control of their intimate imagery.

●        Meta has also partnered with Thorn to update our Stop Sextortion hub, offering new tips and resources for teens, parents and teachers on how to prevent and handle sextortion.

●        Meta is supporting safety organizations and creators around the world to help raise awareness of sextortion scams and what teens and parents can do to take back control.

Having a personal intimate image shared with others can be devastating, especially for young people. It can feel even worse when someone threatens to share it if you don’t give them more photos, sexual contact or money — a crime known as sextortion. That’s why, this Safer Internet Day, we’re announcing new efforts to help combat this kind of criminal activity. These include giving more teens control over their intimate images, helping teens — and their parents and teachers — feel better equipped against those trying to exploit them, and supporting creators and safety organizations around the world as part of a global campaign to raise awareness of sextortion. Expanding Take It Down to More Languages and Countries Take It Down is a program from NCMEC, supported by Meta, which is designed to help teens take back control of their intimate images and help prevent people — whether it’s scammers, ex-partners, or anyone else — from spreading them online. First launched last year in English and Spanish, Meta and NCMEC are now expanding the platform to many more countries and languages, making it accessible to millions more teens around the world. There are several ways people can use Take It Down to find and remove intimate imagery, or help prevent people sharing them in the first place:● Young people under 18 who are worried their content has been, or may be, posted online● Parents or trusted adults on behalf of a young person● Adults who are concerned about images taken of them when they were under 18 Take It Down was designed to respect young people’s privacy and data security. To start the process, people can go to TakeItDown.NCMEC.org and follow the instructions to assign a unique hash — a digital fingerprint in the form of a numerical code — to their image or video, privately and securely from their own device. Teens only need to submit the hash, rather than the intimate image or video itself, which never leaves their device. Once the hash has been submitted to NCMEC, companies like Meta can find copies of the image, take them down and help prevent anyone who’s threatening them from posting them in the future. “Making Take it Down available in 25 languages is a pivotal step towards safeguarding children from the horrors of online exploitation all over the world,” said John Shehan, a Senior Vice President with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. “We aspire to ensure that every child, regardless of language or location, has the opportunity to reclaim their dignity and privacy by having their illicit content removed from participating platforms.” Take It Down builds off of the success of platforms like StopNCII, which helps prevent those seeking to exploit people from sharing adults’ intimate images online. New Resources for Teens, Parents and Teachers to Help Prevent Sextortion These moments can be upsetting and isolating, especially for young people, who may feel too scared to ask for help. That’s why we’ve worked with Thorn, a nonprofit that builds technology to defend children from sexual abuse, to develop updated guidance for teens on how to take back control if someone is sextorting them. It also includes advice for parents and teachers on how to support their teens or students if they’re affected by these scams. The new resources can be found in our updated Sextortion hub within Meta’s Safety Center. Kelbi Schnabel, Senior Manager at Thorn, said: “Our work with Meta to provide targeted, robust sextortion resources has helped Thorn significantly enhance our efforts in combating sextortion. Our joint initiative is already empowering parents and teens to understand the risks and take action, which is a testament to the power of collaborative action in tackling complex challenges like sextortion. The result of our collaboration underscores the importance of accessible, comprehensive resources in the digital era.” To help make sure teens and parents everywhere know about these scammers and what they can do to avoid them, Meta is launching a global campaign, supporting safety organizations and working with incredible creators around the world to help raise awareness. Our Work to Help Protect Teens From Sextortion On Our Apps Today’s updates build on the work we already do to help young people know there are steps they can take if someone has shared, or is threatening to share, their intimate images. We show Safety Notices to people on Instagram when they’re messaging someone who has shown potentially scammy or suspicious behavior. These Safety Notices urge people to be cautious, encourage them to report any account that threatens to share their private images, and remind them that they can say no to anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. We also direct teens to Take It Down at relevant moments when using Facebook and Instagram, such as if they report someone for sharing their private images, for nudity, or for sexual exploitation. 03_Saftey-Notice.webp And we work to help protect teens from unwanted contact in the first place. We default teens under 16 (and under 18 in certain countries) into private Instagram accounts when they sign up, which hides their follower and following lists, and we restrict adults over 19 from messaging minors who don’t follow them. Last month, we announced stricter default message settings, meaning teens under 16 (and under 18 in certain countries) won’t receive messages from anyone they don’t follow or aren’t already connected to, providing more protection against potential scammers.

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Information Technology

Introducing Community Chats: Connecting Your Community in Real Time on Messenger and Facebook

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Introducing Community Chats.

We’ve helped more than a billion people connect with loved ones in a trusted space on Messenger, and we know that people want to engage in real time with larger communities over shared interests. Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced we’ll begin testing the ability for people to start Community Chats in Messenger in the coming weeks, allowing people to create a Facebook Group, start chats and audio channels, and invite others to join their new group all within the app. We’ll also be expanding Community Chats to even more Facebook Groups.

Why Community Chats?

Community Chats let people connect more deeply with communities in real time around the topics they care about in multiple formats, including text, audio and video. The experience seamlessly blends Messenger and Facebook Groups to allow people to connect when, where and how they want. Admins can now start a conversation about a topic and get in-the-moment responses instead of waiting for people to comment on a post. And, rather than navigating multiple topics in a single Messenger group chat, the person who creates the Community Chat can organize chats into categories so group members can easily find what’s most interesting to them. For example, a band’s fan group could have a “Breaking News” category with chats dedicated to new album drops, tour dates and group activities.

How It Works

Check out how Vanessa Yaeger, admin of the Women Who Surf Facebook Group, uses Community Chats to bring her members together in real time for a spontaneous IRL meetup.

Admins can choose from several options to help their communities connect. They can start a chat for group members around a specific topic, an event chat for an outing or meetup, a view-only broadcast chat for admins to announce group-wide updates and an admin-only chat to collaborate with admins and moderators. Admins can also create audio channels so group members can share live commentary or receive real-time support. Participants also have the option to enable video once they’re in the audio channel. For example, the admin of a Facebook Group for chemistry students could create audio channels for study groups during finals season, and participants can turn on video for live tutoring. Community Chats are only accessible to members of a group. To learn more about how to use Community Chats, check out the Facebook Community Blog.


Given the more public nature of Community Chats, we’ve developed a robust suite of tools to help admins easily manage both chat and audio experiences. This includes moderation capabilities like blocking, muting or suspending group members, and removing members or messages, as well as Admin Assist, which allows admins to set custom criteria that will automatically suspend users, remove reported messages, and stop messages from ineligible authors or containing violating content from being sent. Members of Community Chats can also report messages to group admins or Meta, block users or leave a chat at any time. Learn more about privacy and safety controls in Community Chats.



What’s Next?

We’re committed to building messaging experiences that help people connect with their communities, friends and families. As Community Chats rolls out to more people and groups around the world, we’ll continue exploring new features and capabilities to make it easier to connect with one another.

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Huawei gives over 600 students ICT training across Africa in 2021

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Huawei has successfully trained more than 600 students through the “Seeds for the Future” program in 14 sub-Saharan countries covering emerging ICT technologies such as 5G, cloud computing, and AI, helping them get job ready for the digital economy era.

Seeds for the Future is Huawei’s global CSR flagship program. Launched in 2008, it aims to help nurture local talent, promote knowledge transfer, increase people’s understanding and interest in the ICT industry, and encourage countries and regions to participate in the digital community building.

By 2021, the program has been implemented in 131 countries and territories worldwide, with nearly 9,000 students participating. Since 2014, the program has been held in sub-Saharan African countries. So far, 25 countries in Africa, including Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana, have participated in the training, which has so far benefitted more than 1,000 students.

In this year’s training, Huawei has paid more attention to bridging the gender divide in science and technology training. More than one-third of the total number of Seeds candidates were women.

According to the Mobile Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa 2020 report, released by the Global Association for Mobile Telecommunications Systems, sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest growing region in the world, and African countries have entered a rapid development of the digital economy era. In this process, ICT technologies are an important engine that drives countries’ development, and mastering of ICT technologies is the engine’s key.

Through programs such as Seeds for the Future, Huawei cultivates ICT knowledge and skills for local youth. During COVID-19 pandemic, the program took place via online learning, and in person where possible. Students were offered the flexibility to access several ICT courses online at their own pace. They were invited to participate in science and technology roundtables, and interact with youth around the world in real time. Through 5G live broadcasts, students were able to join guided tours of Huawei exhibition halls and historic cultural sites in China.

Meanwhile, under the guidance of professional mentors from the Huawei’s Tech4Good program, they were encouraged to design solutions to solve developmental challenges facing eachof their countries, and realize the value of practical application of the theory they had learned.

Other highlights include: In Ghana, nine ICT training sessions were held in junior high schools, senior high schools and universities. Currently, the ICT training program is still under way. In Madagascar, it provided basic digital skills and training to more than 30 women.

Governments in sub-Saharan Africa have also given high interest to the project. The South African government has included a series of talent development initiatives, including Seeds for the Future, in its national digital economy master plan. The heads of state of Uganda, Mauritius, and Malawi have highly praised Huawei’s talent development plan. The President of Mauritius, Prithvirajsing Roopun said Huawei’s project would help build a national ICT talent team, strengthen youth employment capabilities, and support the National Digital Mauritius 2030 Strategic Plan.

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Meta launches Business Coach tool on WhatsApp to help SMBs in Africa grow online

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09 November 2021 – Today, Meta announced the launch of Facebook Business Coach, an innovative and easily-accessible way for owners of small-and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya and other English speaking countries to learn more about how to grow their business online with Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The Facebook Business Coach available on WhatsApp, is a free-to-use, low data cost educational chatbot tool that users can interact with in a simple, conversational and convenient way. SMBs have access to automated, self-paced lessons that teach them how to establish a presence in today’s ever-evolving digital economy.

As a free curriculum platform, it features step-by-step courses and tutorials as well as helpful infographics, videos, and audio clips. Learning material is recommended based on the user’s needs and queries, with an option to navigate the curriculum via the menu. While the WhatsApp bot provides SMBs with an easy way to quickly learn the basics, users can also access more in-depth  training and get officially certified with Meta Blueprint courses online.

The content was created to assist business owners with multiple queries – from how to create attention-grabbing business pages on Facebook and Instagram, to how to use Messenger and WhatsApp to communicate effectively with clients.

Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director Meta Africa, commented: “In today’s social-media-driven environment, information on building your brand on online platforms can be crucial in what sets a small business apart and drives success. At Meta, we’re passionate about empowering SMBs in Africa with the skills they need to succeed online. We know that they are the backbone of the African economy and the drivers for economic growth. We hope the Facebook Business Coach will be their partner along this journey, providing training they need through their mobile phones.”

The Facebook Business Coach educational tool on WhatsApp is available to any individual, representing one of the ways Meta provides opportunities for education and business growth through its platforms.Visit this link to start talking to the Facebook Business coach on WhatsApp. 

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