National Reconciliation Week 2021 – More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.

Alisha Elliott, Head of Policy Programs - Australia & New Zealand – June 4, 2021

As National Reconciliation Week 2021 comes to a close, I wanted to take the opportunity to share about the steps we have taken in consideration of Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, “More than a word. Reconciliation takes action”. The actions we have taken and investments we are making reflect our commitment to ensure Facebook and Instagram are places where the Australian community can connect safely, share stories and find belonging, whilst also better understanding the local context of how and why racism, bigotry and prejudice exist towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people both in society and online. Through investing in capacity building, improving our understanding and building relationships we are supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to have a positive experience online and contribute to an inclusive Australian community.

Investing in capacity building of First Nations creators

We launched a new “First Nations Creator Fund” in partnership with Screen Australia supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social media creators in mentoring, training and content funding. The program aims to accelerate up to fifteen First Nations up-and-coming local talent and amplify diverse voices across the social media landscape and will involve training sessions and workshops covering product, creativity, safety and well-being, along with mentored guidance on digital production and social media strategy. 

Screen Australia’s Head of First Nations Penny Smallacombe said, “First Nations people are the oldest storytellers in the world and social media has made creating and sharing content easier than ever, with creators able to immediately connect with followers through their social networks. We are excited to partner with Instagram Australia so we can identify and nurture new voices on this platform, support extraordinary First Nations content creators and have their unique stories reach a global audience. I can’t wait to see what fresh and authentic voices come through the First Nations Creator Program.”

Applications close on 17 June. Learn more and apply here.

Building relationships with our trusted partners 

We invited members of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group to join us in our Facebook Sydney office to meet in-person for the first time, having a yarn and discussing opportunities to collaborate into the future. We focussed our discussions on several opportunities as part of the development of the first Reconciliation Action Plan, which we look forward to launching later in the year.  

We were also thrilled to announce our latest collaboration with Indigitek focussed on building career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in technology, advertising and social media. The 2-part event is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their early or mid-careers and will provide an overview of the business units and types of roles at Facebook in Australia. Participants will also get access to stay connected with an online closed group on the Facebook platform Workplace for a 12 month period to help participants with skills and motivation to achieve a Blueprint accreditation.

More information about the program and to register can be found here.

Improving our understanding of the experiences of Indigenous peoples online

To mark the final day of National Reconciliation Week, Facebook supported the launch of  new research into the experience of Indigenous peoples on social media together. Undertaken by Dr Tristan Kennedy from Macquarie University Department of Indigenous Studies and funded by Facebook, this research is part of our commitment to listening and learning from the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, to better support their experience online.

The research highlighted how Indigenous people in Australia are embracing social media and digital citizenship in a technologically mediated global world. The benefits for Indigenous peoples and communities on social media are many and diverse. The research also sought to identify how negative content is conceptualised, identified and dealt with from Indigenous Australian perspectives.

You can read a brief summary of the research by Dr Tristan Kennedy and a link to the full report here.

We know there is more to do and we look forward to releasing our first Reconciliation Action Plan later this year which will detail further commitments we will take in the years ahead.

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