Today in Islamabad, Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed Facebook’s investments and programs in Pakistan and encouraged the social media giant to increase its footprints in the country. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), held a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss Facebook’s investments in Pakistan.
Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI held a virtual meeting with @sherylsandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), to discuss Facebook’s investments in Pakistan, the company’s support for digital literacy initiatives in the country and its work around COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/fhK82qa3Kq
— Prime Minister's Office (@PakPMO) October 9, 2020
The premier raised concerns about the rise in online hate, extremism globally, and acknowledged that fighting it is a big challenge. The prime minister further acknowledged the immense potential of digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for the role they can play in providing global opportunities to the Pakistani youth and entrepreneurs, as well as how the opportunities they create can help people escape from the shackles of poverty.
In addition, PM Khan specifically addressed his concerns around the global rise in hate and extremism and acknowledged the immense challenge of fighting hate speech online. The prime minister and Facebook’s COO discussed the company’s connectivity investments and research grants that were awarded this year to Pakistan-based academics.
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Other topics included Facebook’s blood donations product which has seen more than 5 million people sign up since it launched in the country, as well as Facebook’s support for the government’s goal of a polio-free Pakistan.
He recognized the immense potential of digital platforms like Facebook and the role that they can play in giving global opportunities to Pakistani youth and entrepreneurs and how the opportunities they create can lift people out of poverty.
— Prime Minister's Office (@PakPMO) October 9, 2020
In 2019, Facebook also partnered with the Ministry of Information Technology’s Ignite program to support local startups through its Innovation Lab and Startup Circles program. This partnership continues to run virtual workshops to mentor startups in Pakistan.
Both parties also spoke about Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness Program which is training nearly 6,700 women across Pakistan. Nick Clegg, Facebook’s Vice President for Global Affairs and Communications and Sarim Aziz, Facebook’s Head of Public Policy for Pakistan, also attended the meeting, along with Dr Arslan Khalid, Focal Person to the PM on Digital Media.
The meeting’s agenda also included the company’s support for digital literacy initiatives in Pakistan and its work around COVID-19. The prime minister welcomed Facebook’s investments and programs in Pakistan and encouraged them to increase their footprint. The premier’s statement came after his virtual meeting with Facebook Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg, held to discuss Facebook’s investments in Pakistan, the company’s support for digital literacy initiatives in the country and its work around Covid-19.
In the meeting, PM Imran also raised concerns regarding the rise in hate and extremism around the globe and acknowledged that fighting hate speech online was a big challenge. The two discussed Facebook’s connectivity investments and research grants that were awarded to Pakistan-based academics this year.
Other topics discussed include Facebook’s blood donation tool that has seen more than 5 million people sign up since it was launched in the country. Facebook’s support for the government’s goal for a polio-free Pakistan was also brought under discussion.
Read more: Facebook admits more work needed to curb hate speech in India
The prime minister and Sandberg also spoke about Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness programme that is training some 6,700 women across Pakistan. The meeting was also attended by Facebook’s VP for Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg and Head of Public Policy Pakistan at Facebook Sarim Aziz, along with Focal Person to the PM on Digital Media Dr Arslan Khalid.
Sandberg and Prime Minister Imran Khan had last met in Davos, Switzerland, in January of this year.
PM asks Facebook to support Pakistani startups
During the meetings held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF), the prime minister invited the tech firms to invest in Pakistan. He asked Facebook to consider investments to support Pakistani incubators and help in digital literacy initiatives.
According to a press release, the premier said social media platforms should establish third-party fact-checking services for more responsible digital journalism.
Sheryl Sandberg invited Prime Minister Khan to visit Facebook headquarters.
Talking about future cooperation and investment in Pakistan, Facebook said it was committed to supporting the country’s growth as a digital economy and society.
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“We’re doing this through several, meaningful programs in Pakistan including Innovation Lab, SheMeansBusiness and WeThinkDigital cooperation with Pakistan,” Sarim Aziz, head of public policy Pakistan told Dawn after the meeting.