Facebook has announced $40 million in grants for 10,000 small businesses in the US to help them get through these challenging time.
The grants will go to small businesses in 34 locations where Facebook employees live and work. Those located in New York and Seattle will be the first to receive funds.
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“In this challenging time, when information is changing daily, we are listening to and learning from scores of small businesses to understand what they need now and what they will need down the road,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement on Thursday.
The social networking giant recently announced $100 million global small business grant programme.
“We’re making it easier for people to support their favorite local businesses with digital gift cards on Facebook, which are beginning to roll out today in the US,” said the company.
People will see the option to support local businesses with digital gift cards in their News Feed.
Business owners can also create a personal fundraiser on Facebook for their business and ask customers for support during this critical time.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit small businesses everywhere. Suddenly and, through no fault of their own, many simply can’t do business, and for others it has become much, much harder because customers are doing the right thing and staying at home,” said Sandberg. (IANS)
There have been several incidents when social media has proved itself a boon; be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life. There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities.
‘My Pincode’ is one such group on Facebook that was launched by the NGO Social Media Matters in April when the entire country was confined in their houses. It is about local groups on Facebook to virtually connect, communicate, collaborate and create a support system for each other in their respective pincode areas. These groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support, relief, and share critical information.
Blood donation, ration supply, repair work, daily essential information, government advisories are the highlights of My Pincode as these demands top the charts across posts made by users. Partners like Sarvahitey, Akshay Patra Foundation, Blood Bank were fundamental in their roles to look into all the requests and take immediate action.
Shantanu Garg, who lives in West Delhi, posted on the group requesting for a blood donor on behalf of a friend. Within a few hours, moderators of the group who tagged all volunteers and other admins and started reaching out to other blood donor agencies were able to arrange the required amount of blood. There have also been other instances of such donor requests. Sajal Bhateja’s request for urgent requirement of blood on South Delhi Group was also addressed in two hours.
Other topics that are being discussed on the groups are:
Which is the nearest clinic I can visit?
Where can I get emergency help?
What does the situation look like right now on the roads?
What are the queues like at the shops?
How much longer will supplies last?
Are courier services working in the area?
Which are the nearest Government and Private Testing Centres?
Can I visit the police stations?
Are postal services working in the area?
How do I obtain a curfew pass?
What is the situation at the hospitals?
Are there any blood donor requests?
In an attempt to bring together communities from 170 hotspots of India across 17 states (as identified by the Central Government of India in April 15, 2020) and crowdsource help, open groups have been formed and are being managed by moderators and group admins, trained by the NGO. It will be further extended to 32 states and union territories.
Each state has a moderator and several admins who have been moderating the discussions and letting users connect with each other for essential and verified information as to keep fake profiles/information away.
Every day the lead moderators sift through all the groups to look for any inappropriate content that is posted/approved/queried. As soon as users post on the group, the network of admins gets activated and they look into the prime information or request made by the user. Once that is identified, the request is verified and then the network gets activated to resolve the request. (IANS)
With the Covid-19 pandemic dramatically accelerating the shift to remote work, Facebook’s collaboration tool for businesses, Workplace, has amassed five million paid users — up two million since October.
And Work Groups, a type of Facebook Group that helps people connect with their coworkers, has over 20 million monthly active users after just six months, Facebook said in a blog post on Thursday.
“Today we’re introducing new video features in Workplace We’re also adding features to Workplace on Portal, and widely releasing Oculus for Business to meet early demand for VR-powered training and collaboration,” the social networking giant said.
For example, with Workplace Rooms, users can invite up to 50 people to a video call even if they are not in their company or do not have a Workplace account.
“Whether you’re holding team meetings, hosting a virtual happy hour, or just jumping on quick one-on-one calls, you can easily create video call links from Workplace Chat, Groups, News Feed or Portal, then share them in a chat, post, email or text message, Facebook said.
A new way to go live on Workplace from your desktop is “Live Producer” which lets people to schedule live videos, share their screen and use the live Q&A feature to let people ask and vote on questions.
You can turn on automatic captions for live videos in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Workplace will also automatically translate videos in one of these languages into the other five, so employees around the world can follow along, Facebook announced.
Facebook said it is also bringing some of the Portal video-calling device’s interesting features such as Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered Smart Camera and Smart Sound to Workplace Live on Portal so that users can have professional-level broadcasting wherever they are.
The social networking giant also announced that Oculus for Business, an enterprise solution designed to streamline and expand virtual reality in the workplace, is now generally available.
Oculus for Business is built on Workplace, leveraging its security infrastructure and privacy practices. (IANS)