Facebook has announced a new slate of free education sessions and awareness programs as part of National Black Business Month, which celebrates the contributions of black-owned businesses around the world.
The main focus of the new program is business education and support - as per Facebook:
"We’re partnering with the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) to host Black Business August, a series of free virtual trainings, small business panels and expert speakers that will continue all month long. With 145 Black Chambers of Commerce and 326,000 members across the country, USBC provides leadership and advocacy to empower Black business owners through resources and initiatives. The topics we’ll cover range from building a thriving online community to adapting in uncertain times to getting access to capital and professional networks."
The webinars are free, and will include expert insights and tips, including notes from Facebook's internal teams.
In addition to this, Facebook Elevate will host programming throughout the month focused on four weekly themes: 'health and wellness', 'finance and wealth', 'food and beverage', and 'beauty and fashion'.
Facebook's also partnering with The Shade Room to present information sessions for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Join Angelica Nwandu, Founder of The Shade Room and U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) CEO Ron Busby for a Facebook Live event on The Shade Room’s Facebook Page beginning at 9AM PT on August 12th as they discuss the pandemic’s impact on minority-owned businesses."
The announcement, incidentally, comes in the wake of the recent Facebook ads boycott, lead by civil rights groups who have called on Facebook to do more to address racial discrimination and hate speech on its platform. Facebook also recently published the findings of its own civil rights audit, conducted over the last three years, which found serious concerns with Facebook's approach.
As such, Facebook clearly needs to do more to address issues with representation and content moderation related to the black community. Celebrating black businesses is one step in this, but it's interesting to consider the backdrop to this month-long Facebook event.
You can read more about Facebook's Black Business Month events here.