Social Media Volunteer Training - 15th of June, 2019
With the increasing number of hate speech posts on all social media platforms we soon found the need to conduct a training for our best volunteers. On the 15th of June at Hatch Works we brought together 30 volunteers representing all parts of the country for a training. We had participants from Jaffna, Batticaloa, Matara, Puttalam, Badulla and Colombo. With the help of our Easter response partners SLASSCOM, we were able to conduct the training successfully.
We looked at the history of violence in our country and the daunting statistics, followed by one of our own who was trained by Facebook itself sharing her learnings and finally a representative from SLASSCOM sharing about the new Artificial Intelligence software they are launching to help combat hate speech. We had a very interactive session with all the participants contributing with their ideas and questions.
An introduction to Sri Lanka Unites and the work we do was given by our founder/ president which was then followed by a conversation on the Conflict history of Sri Lanka since independence. Following this discussion another discussion was conducted on the grievances faced by each ethnicity to make the crowd understand that walking in another's shoe is very important for us to understand the pain and grief of another ethnicity.
Following the introduction to conflict timeline of Sri Lanka and the grievances the next session was conducted on Fake News and Hate speech - definitions and examples were shared with volunteers to give an understanding on fake news and hate speech which has been fast spreading on Social Media in Sri Lanka. Also strategies and ideas were shared on identifying fake news, misinformation and hate speech, steps of reporting hate speech and getting the correct URLs of the posts on Facebook were all part of this session. It was concluded with a series of questions and answers between the volunteers and the team.
As the final session we had a representative from SLASSCOM Sri Lanka who spoke about his experience and what more we can do as a collective - while reporting bad content we need to make sure that there is more good content out there and he also urged the volunteers to continue the good work without stopping. The training concluded with distribution of refreshments and a discussion on our next steps.