Date
17 February 2018
Facebook wants to ensure that people get the skills they need to fully participate in the digital economy, says the firm’s COO Sheryl Sandberg. Photo: Bloomberg
Facebook wants to ensure that people get the skills they need to fully participate in the digital economy, says the firm’s COO Sheryl Sandberg. Photo: Bloomberg

Facebook to open digital training centers in Europe

Facebook announced plans to open three new centers in Europe to train people in digital skills, saying it aims to coach one million people in the region over the next two years.

The social media giant said it will open three “community skills hubs” in Spain, Poland and Italy and invest 10 million euro (US$12.2 million) in France through its artificial intelligence research facility, Reuters reports.

The community hubs will offer training in digital skills, media literacy and online safety to groups with limited access to technology, including old people, the young and refugees.

“People are worried that the digital revolution is leaving people behind and we want to make sure that we’re investing in digital skills to get people the skills they need to fully participate in the digital economy,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, told Reuters.

Facebook is committed to training one million people and business owners by 2020.

“Absolutely we want to make sure that people see that we are investing locally, we’re investing in technology, we’re investing in humans,” Sandberg said.

Through its Community Boost EU program, Facebook will work with small businesses and start-ups to help them grow and hire.

It said it will conduct in-person training for 100,000 small- and medium-sized businesses by 2020 and online training for 250,000 businesses.

“What we’re finding is when small businesses use technology, when small businesses use Facebook, they hire,” Sandberg said.

Facebook, which has faced regulatory pressure in Europe over issues ranging from privacy to antitrust, has opened similar centers in countries such as Nigeria and Brazil.

The US firm’s move comes as EU states discuss proposals to raise the tax bill of tech multinationals after pressure from large states that accuse firms of slashing their tax bills by re-routing their EU profits to low-tax countries such as Luxembourg and Ireland, Reuters noted.

European States could have lost 5.4 billion euros in tax revenues from Google and Facebook between 2013 and 2015, according to a report by an EU lawmaker last year.

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