Facebook set to open digital training hubs across Europe
Facebook yesterday said it will open three new centers in Europe to train people in digital skills and committed to training one million people over the next two years, part of the social media giant’s drive to show its contribution to the bloc.
The U.S. company - which has faced regulatory pressure in Europe over issues ranging from privacy to antitrust - said it would open three “community skills hubs” in Spain, Poland and Italy as well as investing 10 million euros ($12.2 million) in France through its artificial intelligence research facility.
“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.
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.
Facebook also committed to having trained 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.
Facebook’s move comes as EU states discuss proposals to raise the tax bill of tech multinationals after pressure from large states that accuse firms like Amazon, Google , Apple and Facebook of slashing their tax bills by re-routing their EU profits to low-tax countries such as Luxembourg and Ireland.
Facebook executives are fanning out across Europe this week to address the social media giant’s slow response to abuses on its platform, seeking to avoid further legislation along the lines of a new hate speech law in Germany it says goes too far.
Through its Community Boost EU program, Facebook will work with small businesses and start-ups to help them grow and hire.