NSMCWG holds meeting with Meta to discuss digital transformation efforts

The working group is also focused on encouraging digital platforms to invest in Pakistan. In their first meeting with the working group, Meta representatives briefed the government on their initiatives that contribute to digital literacy, inclusion and enablement

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Representatives of Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Messenger held a meeting with the National Social Media Coordination Working Group (NSMCWG) in Islamabad on Tuesday, 15th February 2022 to discuss initiatives by Meta to support the government’s digital transformation. Prime Minister Imran Khan constituted the NSMCWG in October 2021 to streamline engagement with digital platforms and work on relevant policies related to social media. The working group is also focused on encouraging digital platforms to invest in Pakistan. In their first meeting with the working group, Meta representatives briefed the government on their initiatives that contribute to digital literacy, inclusion and enablement. They also discussed prospective collaborative efforts in the areas of connectivity, tools and systems for removing harmful content, compliance with local laws, rules and regulatory framework, and ways to support local content creators. The NSMCWG conveyed its concerns regarding effective and timely moderation of harmful and illegal content across the Meta platforms. Both sides showed their willingness for continued engagement to improve mechanics and cooperation on content moderation and compliance with local laws. Members of the NSMCWG appreciated future plans of Meta for the increased presence on Pakistan’s digital map. Further, Meta and the working group agreed to explore the idea of setting up a Community Lab in Pakistan by collaborating with academia, incubation centers, startups and telecom service providers. The lab will offer a platform to develop and test innovative technology solutions to help grow the connectivity ecosystem in Pakistan. Sarim Aziz, Head of Public Policy, South Asia, Meta, said the creation of the working group has made it easier for digital platforms to engage with government stakeholders, share insights and concerns and respond to needs on the ground. “We share the Government of Pakistan’s vision of building a sustainable digital economy in Pakistan through thoughtful investments in connectivity infrastructure and digital upskilling programs to unlock economic growth at scale. This is the first of many discussions and we are committed to working with the government to ensure that online spaces remain safe, free and accessible to everyone in Pakistan.” The NSMCWG reported that this was a fruitful first discussion with Meta and the Working Group continues to advocate for digital investments that will power sustainable economic development in the long term. “We are encouraged that Meta is not only invested in local connectivity efforts, it is also exploring different ways for Pakistani businesses and creators to generate meaningful, reliable revenue on their platforms and is committed to opening up new opportunities in the future.” This is the first meeting that sets the ground for multiple engagements that are in the offing between the Government of Pakistan and Meta as the two sides commit to enhance digital connectivity and inclusion across the country.

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