Facebook To Invest In Community Skills Hubs In The EU

Facebook has disclosed that it will be opening three training centers on the European continent which will be used to impart digital skills. The social media giant indicated that in the course of the coming two years one million people will benefit from the training program. The beneficiary countries of the ‘community skills hubs’ will be Italy, Poland and Spain. Additionally Facebook will invest approximately $12.2 million in an AI research facility in France.

“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,” the chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, said in an interview with Reuters.

One million beneficiaries

Among the skills that will be offered at the community hubs include online safety, media literacy and digital skills. The people who will be targeted include those who have limited technology access and this includes refugees, the young and the old. By 2020 Facebook has committed to having offered these skills to at least one million people as well as business owners.

The move by Facebook comes at a time when EU states are discussing proposals aimed at raising taxes on tech multinationals following pressure from big member states which accuse companies such as Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon of avoiding taxes by re-routing profits made in the European Union to countries with low-tax rates such as Ireland and Luxembourg. The smaller EU member states are on the other hand arguing that such a move would damage their economies and favor rivals.

Damage-control tour

Per a report which was released by a lawmaker in the EU last year member states of the bloc could have lost tax revenues worth more than 5 billion euros in the years between 2013 to 2015 from Facebook and Google.

The announcement by Facebook are coming at a time when the company’s executives are in Europe to address the slow response by the social media giant with regards to abuses observed on its platform. This is aimed at preventing further legislation such as Germany’s hate speech law which Facebook has claimed goes too far.

On the abuses perpetrated on its platform a product manager at the social media giant, Samidh Chakrabarti, has also acknowledged the harm social media can wreck on a healthy democracy. Writing in a blog post Chakrabarti however argued the benefits of the internet still outweigh the negatives.

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