PM welcomes Facebook's support to Pakistan's digital initiative

ISLAMABAD, Oct 9 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan and Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg in a virtual meeting on Friday discussed the company’s investments in Pakistan besides its support to digital literacy initiatives and the work around COVID-19.

The Prime Minister welcomed Facebook’s investments and programmes in Pakistan and encouraged them to increase their footprint.

He recognized the immense potential of digital platforms like Facebook and their role in giving global opportunities to Pakistani youth and lifting people out of poverty.

He also raised concerns around the global rise in hate and extremism and acknowledged the immense challenge of fighting hate speech online.

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The two discussed Facebook’s connectivity investments and research grants that were awarded this year to Pakistan-based academics.

Other topics included Facebook’s blood donations product which has seen more than five million people sign up since it launched in-country, as well as Facebook’s support for the government’s goal of a polio-free Pakistan.

In 2019, Facebook also partnered with the Ministry of Information Technology’s Ignite programme to support local startups through its Innovation Lab and Startup Circles programme.

This partnership continues to run virtual workshops to mentor startups in Pakistan.

The Prime Minister and Ms. Sandberg also spoke about Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness Programme which was giving training to some 6,700 women across Pakistan.

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Nick Clegg, Facebook’s VP for Global Affairs and Communications and Sarim Aziz, Head of Public Policy, Pakistan at Facebook, also attended the meeting, along with Dr Arslan Khalid, Focal Person to the PM on Digital Media.

Prime Minister Khan and Ms Sandberg last met in Davos, Switzerland, this January on the sidelines of World Economic Forum.