In a bid to train one million people across eight countries in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020, Facebook has introduced an online education portal called “We Think Digital”.
The portal with interactive tutorials is aimed at helping people think critically and share thoughtfully online. The initiative would cover topics like privacy, safety, security, digital discourse and knowing digital footprint.
“We designed the programme in partnership with experts from across Asia Pacific,” Clair Deevy, Director of Community Affairs, Asia Pacific, said in a blog post late Monday.
Asia Pacific has a fast-growing Internet population, with more than 2.21 billion people now online and 203 million new people joining in the past year.
“We Think Digital has been designed for new and existing internet users of all ages to develop the skills they need to safely enjoy digital technology, including critical thinking and empathy,” Deevy added.
The series of online tutorials has been developed in collaboration with journalists, academics and representatives from NGOs and civil society organisations across.
A confidential Facebook document reviewed by The Intercept has revealed that the social networking giant is offering private data of its users without their knowledge or consent to 100 different telecom companies and phone makers in 50 countries.
Confidential documents seen by the website showed late Monday that Facebook is helping operators and phone makers “create targeted advertising by supplying them with surveillance data slurped directly from users’ smartphones”.
Not only that, the social networking giant is also collecting data from its main iOS and Android apps, Messenger and Instagram apps — even snooping into the phones of children as young as 13.
Through a tool called “Actionable Insights”, Facebook is allegedly collecting data including technical details about smartphones, cellular and Wi-Fi networks used by Facebook users, locations visited social groups and interests.
Facebook reacted in a statement late Monday: “We do not, nor have we ever, rated people’s credit worthiness for Actionable Insights or across ads, and Facebook does not use people’s credit information in how we show ads”.
According to the report, “the data has been used by Facebook partners to assess their standing against competitors, including customers lost to and won from them, but also for more controversial uses like racially targeted ads”.
Facebook launched “Actionable Insights” tool last year “to address the issue of weak cellular data connections in various parts of the world.”
“The confidential Facebook document shows how the programme, ostensibly created to help improve underserved cellular customers, is pulling in far more data than how many bars you’re getting,” said the report.
“The Facebook mobile app harvests and packages eight different categories of information for use by over 100 different telecom companies in over 50 different countries around the world, including usage data from the phones of children as young as 13,” the report claimed.
These categories include use of video, demographics, location, use of Wi-Fi and cellular networks, personal interests, device information, and friend homophily, an academic term of art.
From these categories, a third party vendor could learn an extraordinary amount about patterns of users’ daily life.
The news came after Facebook’s photo-sharing service Instagram saw itself in trouble as personal data of millions of celebrities and influencers were allegedly exposed on its platform in a massive database that was traced to Mumbai-based social media marketing firm Chtrbox.
The database contained 49 million records of several high-profile influencers, including prominent food bloggers, celebrities and other social media influencers, TechCrunch reported. (IANS)