Tech Giants To Show How To Use Social Media To Discuss Race, Religion, Singapore News & Top Stories
To counter the threat of radicalization online, tech giants Facebook, Google, Twitter and TikTok will teach religious and community organizations here how to use social media to educate users on issues of race and religion.
Launched yesterday, the pilot project aims to equip organizations with skills to expand their online presence and facilitate sensitive discourse in the digital sphere. Tech companies will be hosting three workshops this month through August.
Participating organizations include the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, the National Council of Churches of Singapore and the Taoist Federation (Singapore).
Announcing the initiative, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan said that with more people going online during the pandemic, the challenge lies in dealing with the rhetoric division on social networks.
“While social media has the power to divide, it also has the power to unite. Our technology partners are working with us to positively influence online spaces so that we can develop common ground in our community,” said he declared.
Through the workshops, faith-based organizations will learn to present educational information in a way that is accessible to young people, for example through Instagram stories or TikTok videos.
They will also learn how to report extremist content to platforms and facilitate candid discussions about race and religion through live streaming, for example.
Mr Abbas Ali Mohamed Anas, Ambassador of the Interfaith Youth-Led Initiative Roses of Peace, said the workshops come at a crucial time when more and more people are using social media to have difficult conversations about race and religion.
“Without proper guidance and information to navigate this digital space, we face the risk of online radicalization and hate speech among our young people,” he said. “We need to counter this disturbing trend by responsibly facilitating conversations through messages of peace, love and harmony.”
The initiative comes after a 16-year-old Singaporean Christian student and a 20-year-old former Muslim national serviceman were recently detained under Homeland Security Act after separately planning attacks here. Self-radicalized youth had consumed violent material online.
Ms. Clara Koh, Facebook’s Public Policy Officer for Singapore and Asean, said at the launch of the program: “I would say forcefully that hate, intolerance and extremism are not what we want on Facebook. . They have no place.
“We believe that positive speech can be a bulwark against destructive speech. That’s why we’re here to help community organizations amplify their calls to action and effectively build bridges in the online space. “
Ms Teresa Tan, TikTok’s public policy manager for Singapore and Southeast Asia, said interfaith groups can rally the community to spot signs of radicalization online.
“These are topics that can be presented in a short, relevant video so that (young people) can have their eyes and ears on the pitch,” she said.