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Facebook is Teaching OFWs How to Spot Fake News

Starting next month, outgoing OFWs will be taught digital literacy program
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In celebration of National Migrant Workers Day, Facebook has partnered with Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to educate OFWs on digital literacy. This includes how to protect their privacy, practice critical thinking and empathy, and identify fake news.

Facebook Philippines launched a pilot program last May, in which they conducted workshops for over 70 workers. Starting next month, the digital literacy program will officially be included as part of OWWA’s exit process—meaning that OFWs will undergo the training before they leave the country. Informational videos will also be played in OWWA offices and posted on their online platforms.

Facebook originally launched their digital literacy program in local schools, but Clair Deevy, Director of Community Affairs in Asia and the Pacific, says they consistently heard feedback that OFWs would greatly benefit from the same training. “I had already been working in an NGO that was providing this training to OFWs in Singapore, so we were starting to see the impact of it,” she says. “So we approached OWWA and we saw that they had such a great training program and exit program in place and we could bring some of the things that we already have. We also saw the reach that we could get. 40,000 women before the end of the year is huge.”

The digital literacy program is a one-hour workshop that teaches OFWs in a fun and engaging manner. It helps attendees fully understand and take advantage of Facebook’s privacy features. This includes 10 simple tips on how to stay safe on Facebook—tips that include adhering to Facebook’s policy on using your real name, only adding people that you already know in real life, and avoiding scams. “We explain the difference between followers and friends and choosing the people you want to share information with,” Deevy explains.

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Facebook also worked with a Filipino artist to create graphics and an animated video explaining 10 tips for identifying fake news. During the workshop, they give the OFWs important lessons in empathy and critical thinking. This includes teaching them to distinguish between facts, opinions, and false information.

“For the empathy, this is the part that is the most important to me and that I pushed really hard for. Because even if you believe something to be true—it’s bulletproof and you’ve got all the facts—we want to encourage people to think about if you choose to share something, why are you choosing to share that?” says Deevy. “Are you trying to make a better place, are you trying to share information that’s important, or are you trying to trick people or bully someone?”

“We used to teach digital literacy, it was just about how to use a computer,” she adds. “Now digital literacy is really about how do you understand all this information that you have coming at you and what are the norms that you used to have being in a family? What was respectful to other people and how do you translate this to the online world?”

Facebook Philippines’ digital literacy program will officially launch in July. For more information on their initiatives with OWWA, visit pilipinas.fb.com.

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Angelica Gutierrez
Angelica is currently Editorial Assistant for Esquiremag.ph.
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