Facebook is rolling out a new program, Community Boost, meant to give the unemployed, entrepreneurs and small business people a hand when it comes to navigating the digital world.
“Today we’re announcing a new program called Facebook Community Boost to help small businesses in the US grow, and to help more people get the digital skills those businesses need,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. “Since 2011, Facebook has invested more than $1 billion dollars to support small businesses. This is the next step.”
As TechCrunch points out, the move’s not entirely altruistic:
It will teach digital job skills to the unemployed, internet literacy to those just getting online, startup methodology to entrepreneurs and customer growth to small business owners.
Unsurprisingly, though, all these skills revolve around Facebook, which Facebook clearly thinks is the key to a better life. Stops on the tour include Houston, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Des Moines and Greenville, South Carolina — which are conspicuously all red states that voted for Trump in the 2016 election. Perhaps Facebook hopes to reduce unemployment that led to the dissatisfaction with current political systems which landed us Trump.
Facebook cites research by Morning Consult indicating “62% percent of US small businesses using Facebook said having digital or social media skills is an important factor in their hiring decisions — even more important than where a candidate went to school.” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says that “We’re happy to welcome Facebook to Houston to boost our residents’ digital skills and make sure our vibrant community of entrepreneurs and small businesses gets more out of the internet.” …
.The program might be perceived as less self-serving if Facebook had concentrated on teaching skills beyond it site, like how to make a good-looking resume or handle job interviews. So while the intention behind Facebook Community Boost might be honest, it’s tough to interpret it as altruistic while Facebook is amidst congressional hearings into election interference on its platform and is toying with the entire journalism industry as it sucks out ad dollars and jobs.