Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), held a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss Facebook’s investments in Pakistan.
The meeting’s agenda also included the company’s support for digital literacy initiatives in Pakistan and its work around COVID-19. The prime minister welcomed Facebook’s investments and programs in Pakistan and encouraged them to increase their footprint.
He recognized the immense potential of digital platforms like Facebook and the role that they can play in giving global opportunities to Pakistani youth and entrepreneurs and how the opportunities they create can lift people out of poverty.
However, he also raised concerns around the global rise in hate and extremism and acknowledged the immense challenge of fighting hate speech online.
The prime minister and Facebook’s COO discussed the company’s connectivity investments and research grants that were awarded this year to Pakistan-based academics.
Other topics included Facebook’s blood donations product which has seen more than 5 million people sign up since it launched in the country, as well as Facebook’s support for the government’s goal of a polio-free Pakistan.
In 2019, Facebook also partnered with the Ministry of Information Technology’s Ignite program to support local startups through its Innovation Lab and Startup Circles program. This partnership continues to run virtual workshops to mentor startups in Pakistan.
Both parties also spoke about Facebook’s #SheMeansBusiness Program which is training nearly 6,700 women across Pakistan. Nick Clegg, Facebook’s Vice President for Global Affairs and Communications and Sarim Aziz, Facebook’s Head of Public Policy for Pakistan, also attended the meeting, along with Dr Arslan Khalid, Focal Person to the PM on Digital Media.
Before this, Sandberg and Khan last met in Davos, Switzerland, in January this year.