Facebook is aiming to bring digital literacy training to 1 million people in eight countries in the Asia-Pacific region with Tuesday’s debut of We Think Digital, an online education portal with content available in six different languages.
We Think Digital is starting out in Singapore, and Facebook plans to roll it out in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan next.
Clair Deevy, the social network’s director of community affairs for the region, said in a Newsroom post that there are also plans to extend the initiative to Argentina and Mexico.
We Think Digital covers topics including privacy, safety, security, digital discourse and knowing your digital footprint, and Deevy detailed the four modules contained within:
- What Is the Internet? An explanation of the internet and social media, how they work and the importance of digital citizenship.
- Your Digital Footprint: All you need to know about safety and security online and managing your digital footprint.
- Be a Critical Thinker: Helping you to discern different types of information and develop critical thinking and empathy when communicating online.
- You as a Digital Citizen: Insights into digital discourse and the differences between interacting online versus offline, your rights and responsibilities, as well as internet concepts like netiquette, being a creator, copyright and plagiarism.
Facebook developed the online tutorials in collaboration with journalist Saffron Howden and academics and representatives from non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations in the region: T.J. Agulto from AHA Behavioral Design; associate Prof. Michael Dezuanni from Queensland University of Technology; Prof. Katherine Chen from National Chengchi University; chairman Wayne Chau of the Agent of Change Foundation; executive director Hamish Curry of the Asia Education Foundation; and Damien Spry, lecturer of media and communications at the University of South Australia and visiting rellow at Queensland University of Technology’s Digital Media Research Centre.
The social network is also forming a regional steering committee to advise it on how to deliver the most value with We Think Digital, and the first two members of that committee are: Vu Minh Khuong, associate professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and Pijitra Tsukamoto, associate professor at Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University.
Chia Tze Yee, group director of the engagement group at the People’s Association, which is supporting We Think Digital in Singapore, said in the Newsroom post, “Improving digital literacy and encouraging greater levels of digital citizenship benefits everyone in an increasingly connected community. The People’s Association recognizes the need to equip residents, especially seniors, with digital citizenship skills to exercise critical thinking and responsible online behavior. We are happy to partner with Facebook to launch the We Think Digital initiative and are proud to be able to use our own ‘Seniors for Smart Nation’ programs and Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors to help deliver these valuable skills to the public.”
Lock Wai Han, chairman of Singapore’s Media Literacy Council, added, “Programs like We Think Digital that keep pace with increasing online participation and the way we consume, create or share content are important to the promotion of astute and responsible digital citizenship and online safety in Singapore and across the region. This is a positive initiative from Facebook.”