INTERVIEW: Egypt, Meta collaborate to promote safer online environment, says Meta’s Shaden Khallaf

Rania Refaee, Thursday 7 Mar 2024

Meta has recently announced a collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports to promote youth safety online.

 Shaden khallaf


Shaden Khallaf, Meta’s head of public policy for North Africa, highlights the importance of building strong partnerships between the private sector, public institutions, and decision-makers to ensure that young people have the opportunity to benefit from platforms safely and in a way that prepares them to be a strategic pillar in Egypt's digital transformation journey and its vision for sustainable development by 2030 and beyond.

How is the collaboration between Meta and the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports progressing?

We are pleased to collaborate with the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports on enhancing youth safety and wellbeing. This landmark collaboration is an integral part of Meta's ongoing commitment to creating a safer digital environment, with a particular emphasis on the wellbeing of the youth demographic.


What are the activities that will be held as part of this collaboration?

The collaboration will begin with a roundtable this month, bringing together youth safety experts, academia representatives, civil society, and international organizations. This roundtable will focus on discussing best practices for promoting youth safety and wellbeing.

In addition to the roundtable, Meta will conduct capacity building sessions, focusing on unlocking the potential of social media platforms. Workshops will cover monetization, misinformation prevention, and the adoption of emerging technologies like the Metaverse and Artificial Intelligence for capacity building and economic opportunities.

In coordination with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Meta will select participants for a focused training on online safety. Additionally, an Olympics Workshop will be conducted, providing training for select participants in the Egyptian National Olympics team on the optimal use of Meta's platforms for promotion and safety.

What are the benefits of this collaboration?

We hope that this collaboration will help raise awareness about the risks of the internet and the importance of digital safety, provide youth with the tools and skills they need to protect themselves online, and create a safer digital environment for young people.

Meta also announced new youth safety features. Can you tell us more about these features?

We are introducing new features designed specifically to protect teens online, including:


  • Enhanced protections tailored for teenagers, aligning with the company's dedication to fostering age-appropriate online experiences and shielding young users from potential risks.
  • Nighttime Nudges on Instagram, an innovative feature designed to engage users, particularly teenagers, by gently encouraging them to take breaks and step away from the app during nighttime hours.
  • Our Take a Break feature provides teens with full-screen reminders to take regular breaks from the app.


How can teens activate these features?

Teens can activate these features through the privacy settings on their Facebook and Instagram accounts. We encourage all teens to activate these features to protect themselves online.


Parents also play an important role in their children's online safety. What advice does Meta offer to parents?

We believe that partnership between parents and social media platforms is essential to ensure the safety of children. Here are some tips to parents:

  • Talk to your children about online safety: Share with them the risks of the internet and how they can protect themselves.
  • Set rules for their internet usage: Set limits on screen time and specify appropriate websites and content.
  • Use parental controls: Use the parental control features available on social media platforms and other applications.
  • Be a positive role model: Be aware of how you use technology and demonstrate responsible behaviour online.
  • Be a source of support: Be available to talk about any concerns or problems they face online.


In addition to focusing on youth safety, what is Meta doing to promote positive online interactions?

We recognize that online safety goes beyond just protecting users from harm. We also strive to proactively encourage positive interactions online. We focus on:

  • Developing features that promote safe content: We develop new tools that allow users to report harmful content and abusive comments more easily. We also develop technologies to automatically detect and remove harmful content.
  • Empowering teens to report harmful content and behaviours: We want teens to feel empowered to report anything that makes them uncomfortable. That's why we make the reporting process easy and clear, and we provide them with support resources if they need them.
  • Partnering with organizations to combat cyberbullying and raise awareness: We collaborate with leading organizations to combat cyberbullying and create awareness campaigns and develop initiatives that aim to build a more positive and safer digital environment for everyone.


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