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Facebook Downtime Plunges Zuckerberg’s Wealth by $7B in Few Hours

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Mark Zuckerberg’s personal wealth has fallen by nearly $7 billion in a few hours, knocking him down a notch on the list of the world’s richest people, after a whistleblower came forward and outages took Facebook’s flagship products offline.

A selloff sent the social-media giant’s stock plummeting around 5% on Monday, adding to a drop of about 15% since mid-September.

The stock slide on Monday sent Zuckerberg’s worth down to $120.9 billion, dropping him below Bill Gates to No. 5 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He’s lost about $19 billion of wealth since Sept. 13, when he was worth nearly $140 billion, according to the index.

On 13 September, the Wall Street Journal began publishing a series of stories based on a cache of internal documents, revealing that Facebook knew about a wide range of problems with its products — such as Instagram’s harm to teenage girls’ mental health and misinformation about the Jan. 6 Capitol riots — while downplaying the issues in public. The reports have drawn the attention of government officials, and on Monday, the whistleblower revealed herself.

In response, Facebook has emphasized that the issues facing its products, including political polarisation, are complex and not caused by technology alone.

“I think it gives people comfort to assume that there must be a technological or a technical explanation for the issues of political polarisation in the United States,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, told CNN.

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Facebook Launches 2021 Edition of “My Digital World” Across Sub-Saharan Africa to Meet Digital Literacy Needs

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Today, Facebook announced the launch of the 2021 edition of “My Digital World“. Originally launched in June 2020, ‘My Digital World is a digital literacy program which is accessible across Sub-Saharan Africa  and designed to provide young people and the general public with the skills needed to navigate digital spaces safely and responsibly. 

The 2021 edition of “My Digital World” is now accessible on the new website that hosts new updated content that is relevant to today’s realities.

The program provides educators and trainers with training and resources to reach young people across Sub-Saharan Africa, equipping them with information and skills to help them thrive in an increasingly complex and digitally connected world.

“Through My Digital World, Facebook is reaching learners across the region and shaping the Sub-Saharan digital community for the better,” Phil Oduor, Policy Programs Manager for Economic Impact and Digital Literacy at Facebook said, “Designed for young people aged 13 – 18 years in high-tech and low-tech communities, the content has adaptable step-by-step instructions to fit their needs and learning environment. The lessons help participants learn tangible skills such as protecting personal information, identifying reputable sources, understanding misinformation themes, and recognizing healthy online relationships.”

‘My Digital World’ lessons are divided across six content pillars:

●      Introduction to Digital Learning: Demonstrating to learners what the internet is, identifying information that can be shared over the internet, determining various methods for accessing information online, and identifying the benefits, roles, and responsibilities of digital citizenship.

●      Digital Foundations: Teaching learners how to leverage tools to protect their digital devices and their personal information online, as well as that of others.

●      Digital Wellness: Supporting learners’ ability to engage with others (both individuals and the larger collective) online in empathic and positive ways, protect their physical and mental health, and explore their identities.

●      Digital Engagement: Helping learners develop executive functioning, critical thinking, and the skills needed to evaluate and share media and information online, as well as engage with different cultures and contexts.

●      Digital Empowerment: Helping learners use technology and social media to create positive change and better opportunities for themselves, their communities, and the world.

●      Digital Opportunities: Preparing learners to create the next wave of technology and succeed in their careers and pathways.

Over the years, Facebook has trained thousands of African youths through existing digital literacy programs across Sub saharan Africa such as ‘Safe Online with Facebook’ in Nigeria, ‘Ilizwe Lam’ in South Africa and ‘eZibo’ in Zambia.  With the program also successfully implemented in Ethiopia, Côte D’Ivoire, Kenya and Senegal,  “My Digital World” will, this year, be launched in Ghana, in partnership with Junior Achievement Ghana.

All content is available and can be accessed for free, the program will be available in English, French, Kiswahili, and Amharic.

‘My Digital World’ partnered with organizations across Sub-Saharan Africa to develop the learning modules and resources in the curriculum. 

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Facebook and Comic Republic Release #NoFalseNewsZone Comic Book Series in Nigeria

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Facebook and Comic Republic have announced the launch of #NoFalseNewsZone online comic book, an exciting and educational comic series designed to help people think critically about the messages they see and read online. The series helps readers to identify false news and what they can do to help minimise its spread.

The online comic book, which comes in a three-part series will feature the stories of an experienced nurse, an intern reporter and a university student who are on their personal journey to educate people on how to curb false news, and also join the fight against misinformation to help create a #NoFalseNewsZone online.

“Facebook is excited to launch its #NoFalseNewsZone online comic book in collaboration with Comic Republic. We’ve come up with relatable and exciting stories to keep people entertained as we educate them on how to minimise its spread,” Oluwasola Obagbemi, Facebook’s Corporate Communications Manager for Anglophone West Africa said, while commenting on the launch. “As a pioneer of innovation for human connection through social presence, Facebook has given people the power to build communities and bring the world closer together in new and profound ways. Our hope is that with this online comic book, people will make informed decisions by thinking critically about what they read, trust and share,” Obagbemi added.

Speaking on the collaboration, Comic Republic CEO, Jide Martin said: “In a world where we are online for everything essential, it is now critical that we protect our new reality. More than ever, with just one tap online, you can either make or mar a life. As such, we must all be accountable for the information we share on social media. Comic Republic’s mission is rooted in storytelling for a cause, so the #NoFalseNewsZone campaign is right up our alley and such a thrill to work on. I urge people to read and pass it on but most of all, really think before you share unverified messages with their contacts. We don’t need superpowers to do good.”

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Trump To Launch New Social Media Platform Called TRUTH Social in 2022

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced his plans to launch his own social media platform, TRUTH Social. According to a press release he said Truth was created to “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech” companies such as Twitter and Facebook that have barred him from their platforms.

“I created TRUTH Social and TMTG to stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump said in the statement.

The app, which is available for pre-order in Apple’s App Store, will open to invitees in November and to the public in the first quarter of 2022, the release said.

TRUTH Social will be launched by Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), a recently created company that’s aiming to go public via a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company.

Trump’s announcement comes after months of speculation about his plans to create his own media operation after nearly every major social media platform – including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – banned or suspended him for violating their policies.

“We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced. This is unacceptable.

“I am excited to send out my first TRUTH on TRUTH Social very soon. TMTG was founded with a mission to give a voice to all. I’m excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts on TRUTH Social and to fight back against Big Tech,” Trump said in a written statement included in the release.

The social network, set for a beta launch next month and full rollout in the first quarter of 2022, is the first of three stages in the company’s plans, followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news and podcasts, according to the news release.

In a slide deck on its website, the company envisions eventually competing against Amazon.com’s AWS cloud service and Google Cloud.

The former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., told Fox News in an interview, “for so long, Big Tech has suppressed conservative voices, tonight my father signed a definitive merger agreement to form what will ultimately be the Trump Media and Technology Group and TRUTH Social – a platform for everyone to express their feelings.”

Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms banned Trump from their services after hundreds of his supporters rioted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

That protest came after a speech by Trump in which he falsely claimed that his November election loss was due to widespread fraud, an assertion rejected by multiple courts and state election officials.

The deal will list Trump Media & Technology Group on Nasdaq through a merger with Digital World Acquisition Corp, a blank-check acquisition firm led by former investment banker Patrick Orlando.

Trump Media & Technology Group will receive $293 million in cash that Digital World Acquisition Corp had in trust, assuming no shareholder of the acquisition firm chooses to redeem their shares, according to the statement.

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