Facebook is committing to online safety as they have committed to working with a number of organizations including local governments, policy makers and civil society to co-host selected events in both Zimbabwe and South Africa. A team from the social media platform will meet with, in the next couple of days, leading South African and Zimbabwean representatives from various sectors including civil society and experts to learn from, as well as provide practical advice in helping people to stay safe online.

Part of these meetings will involve training and workshop sessions that will be centered around creating an open dialogue about online safety, whilst highlighting the tools available to ensure people feel welcome, empowered and safe when using the platform.

β€œAs an open platform for ideas, and a place where self-expression, connection, and sharing is encouraged, safety is at the center of how we build our products. Protecting the privacy and safety of the people who use Facebook is at the heart of everything we do and that is why this Safety Tour is so important to us – not only to educate on the tools that we have in place but to create open conversations," said Emilar Gandhi, Public Policy Manager for South Africa at Facebook.

The online safety engagements will include the following events:

  • Safety Roundtable, Harare, Zimbabwe, 15 September 2017 - Meeting with Zimbabwean policymakers this session will discuss how to drive awareness of online safety amongst the young in Zimbabwe.

  • Facebook Safety for Journalists, Zimbabwe, 15 September 2017 - Co-organised with a media NGO, this discussion and training session on safety for journalists in Harare will explore issues relevant to journalists in the country, with a special focus as part of the day on women journalists.

  • Safety Open House, Cape Town, South Africa, 20 September 2017 - Co-hosted with a local crime prevention policy group, this specialist event aims to create on an open forum discussing online safety.

  • Women’s Luncheon, Cape Town, South Africa, 20 September 2017 - this luncheon will bring together influential women to explore issues relating to women’s online safety as well as to learn from the community

These online safety engagements by Facebook follow their launch of an educational tool to combat fake news in August 2017 during the lead up to Kenya's presidential elections which have since been declared null and void due to irregularities.

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