Facebook funds anti-bullying training in schools

school classroomImage copyright Getty Images

Facebook has said it will fund existing training for one young person in every UK secondary school so they can support children who experience cyber-bullying.

There are 4,500 secondary schools in the UK, of which around half have a digital ambassador trained by anti-bullying campaigns The Diana Award and Childnet International.

The "digital safety ambassador" scheme is part of Facebook's commitment to online safety, the firm said.

Facebook will provide £1m ($1.3m).

The funding provides an extension of existing projects offered by the two organisations to schools who choose to opt in.

New research suggests that young people are more likely to discuss online bullying with each other than with parents or teachers.

"This partnership is the next step in our ongoing effort to help young people build safe and supportive communities," said Antigone Davis, Facebook's head of global safety policy.

"Over the last decade, we have developed a wealth of innovative resources on Facebook that enable young people to look after themselves and their peers, from our updated Safety Centre, to our online reporting tools.

"By offering trained digital safety ambassadors to every UK secondary school we are now taking this commitment offline too."

'Positive changes'

Poppy Muffett, a 15-year-old digital leader from Wath Comprehensive School in Rotherham, said the role had given her confidence.

"The most enjoyable part of the programme is planning events or creating posters, as you know that you're making a difference within the school and wider community," she said.

"Over the two years that I have had this role, I have noticed positive changes around the school.It feels like we have made the school a better place, and I know we will continue to do so in the future."


Analysis:Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology Correspondent

This looks like an ambitious initiative by Facebook, but £1m is quite a limited sum if thousands of children in 4,500 schools are to be trained as digital ambassadors.

It comes as all the social media firms are under pressure from the government to sign up to a voluntary code of practice.

The culture secretary Karen Bradley has described this move as "fantastic" but she says she wants more from the companies.

This is an existing programme run by Childnet and the Diana Award.On the face of it, it's an impressive idea - kids are more likely to listen to other kids than to parents or teachers.

What parents may be asking is, "why isn't Facebook doing more to remove abusive content quickly from its platform?"....

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YouTube lifts Swazi bare-breasted dancer restrictions

Women carrying reeds during the rain dance in Swaziland - 2016Image copyright AFP Image caption The famous reed dance is an annual cultural event held in Swaziland featuring bare-breasted women

YouTube has lifted restrictions from videos showing Swaziland's reed dance, which feature bare-breasted women.

A spokesperson for the video-sharing platform told the BBC that YouTube allows nudity when "culturally relevant or properly contextualised".

Users who had uploaded reed dance videos were angered when it was classified as age-restricted content.

YouTube has denied accusations of racism, saying it was keen to be culturally sensitive.

The move was in response to a campaign led by Lazi Dlamini, the head of TV Yabantu, an online video production company, featuring Africa's "finest culture...as seen, and recorded by the African people".

Its YouTube channel[3] - which launched in 2016 - had been adding up to 4,000 new subscribers every month until the platform started to flag its content as inappropriate, South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper reports.

It also put a label on the channel advising advertisers that its content was "not suitable for most advertisers".

According to Mr Dlamini[4], he had contacted YouTube's parent company Google to say that he was simply reflecting the cultural values of his community, but the company said that the content violated the platform's standards.

He then organised a series of protests, working with more than 200 cultural groupings from Swaziland, with the first one taking place on Saturday in Durban, a city in neighbouring South Africa, the Mail and Guardian says.

It included at least a dozen women who posed bare-breasted with placards that accused Google of racism.

One placard read:"My breasts are not inappropriate", the Mail and Guardian said.


What is the reed dance?

Image copyright AFP
  • The reed dance, or Umhlanga, celebrates chastity and virginity
  • Every year about 40,000 girls and young women take part in the ceremony, during which King Mswati can chose a new wife
  • The eight-day event, which sees the women parade semi-naked in front of the royal residence, has been heavily criticised by rights groups who say it is outdated and sexist.

After the Mail and Guardian article was published, a spokesperson for YouTube told the BBC that reed dance videos were not against their policy, and that they were happy to rectify the error and apologise.

YouTube has been criticised for how it moderates content, and earlier this year pledged to do more to prevent the spread of terror-related material in particular[5].

More 400 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube per minute.

In most cases, YouTube relies on inappropriate content being flagged by users, which it then investigates....

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