Interview With Antigone Davis & Akua Gyekye On Relaunched Facebook Safety Centre

Antigone Davis – Head of Global Safety at Facebook

How time flies! I recently had the opportunity to interview Facebook’s Antigone Davis (Head of Global Safety at Facebook) and Akua Gyekye (Public Policy Manager, Africa) following the recent launch of the redesigned Facebook Safety Center and Bullying Prevention Hub.

I jumped at the opportunity to interview them after their PR Agency in South Africa reached out to me. Since Facebook is a major Internet destination with over 6.1 million users in Kenya alone, I wanted to find out how they are making it safer for users and especially the youth. Here is how it went:

Moses Kemibaro: Facebook has 6.1 million users in Kenya and many are coming online for the very first time via Facebook. The reality is that many are novices when it comes to the Internet. In this respect, and especially where children and young adults are concerned, how is Facebook making is easier for them to be safe online?

Antigone Davis: We want to ensure that when users come to Facebook its because its a safe place for them to share. Facebook has become a frequent resource for people globally and we are now available in 50 languages – including Kiswahili. We currently have 8 excellent videos in the Facebook Safety Centre and its a great way for them to learn how to use Facebook safely is a good way for them to learn. Its easy to search and find this content on Facebook.

Moses Kemibaro: The Communications Authority has its Child Online Protection or ‘COP’ program which was launched over the last couple of years? Has Facebook partnered with the COP program to augment its impact in Kenya? if so how and if not when will this happen?

Akua Gyekye – Facebook Public Policy Manager, Africa

Akua Gyekye: Facebook actually works closely with the Communications Authority of Kenya in this respect. We have also partnered with the Watoto Watch Network in Kenya who are doing excellent work on the ground. For instance, we were involved in the Safer Internet Day with Communications Authority and Safaricom as well as others. We ensured that the resources used were up to date and also available in Kiswahili.

Moses Kemibaro: There are numerous cases of online fraud and identity theft happening in Kenya and my sense is that this is due to the fact many users including those on Facebook are only learning how to use the Internet for the very first time. How can Facebook’s safety features help them to be more secure online and on Facebook?

Antigone Davis: Facebook requires people to use an authentic identity on Facebook. If a user is anonymous in any way they can violate Facebook’s usage policies. We have found that people using fake accounts are 8 times more likely to violate our policies. Facebook’s security check-up is a tool helps users secure their Facebook accounts with 2 factor login authentication. It sends you special code and protects that code too. Our privacy check-ups as well will walk you through various privacy settings such as sharing content only with friends as well as other customized settings as well. These are the kind of tools that are available to all users on Facebook. We also have provided the ability for users to report to Facebook if something should not be there.

Moses Kemibaro: What are the key improvements to Facebook’s Safety Centre and how are these going to help consumers in Kenya to be safer online when using Facebook and the broader Internet?

Antigone Davis: Facebook has partnered with over 75 online partner organizations. One can go online and find local online safety organizations such as the Watoto Watch Network in Kenya. We have Built Facebook’s safety centre on the basis of what users experienced online so they can access the bullying prevention hub with tips for teens as well as educators. We worked with Yale University’s Centre for Emotional Intelligence in developing these resources for our users on Facebook.

Moses Kemibaro: How exactly does the partnership with Watoto Watch Network in Kenya work with Facebook?

Akua Gyekye: Facebook works with them as they engage with stakeholders by going to schools and engaging young adults on how to stay safe online. We have made sure that they have updated tools information so that educators and parents know how this works with Facebook. This is usually in the form of programs, etc.

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