The emergence of new digital marketplaces has revolutionized commerce, transportation, and information dissemination. Digital platforms have made it easier to start a business, find a job, market a new product, or connect your business to customers. In addition to creating new avenues for economic opportunity and growth, these platforms have also created a new set of economic challenges. These include the potential to exacerbate existing inequalities in access to opportunity, particularly for those who lack digital skills.
Part of Facebook’s mission is to empower individuals to build community and to ensure that these communities create opportunity for everyone. Facebook has invested in training, technology, tools, support, and research to help people and small businesses around the world. These include investments in our training programs Facebook Community Boost, Boost Your Business, and our online learning hub Blueprint. We’d like to understand how these programs could be more effective and reach more people, as well as enable more research into who is being left behind in the digital economy and how to help them.
The goal of this RFP is to enable research into how (and whether) the digital economy and online platforms create opportunity and encourage social mobility, as well as identify and address inequalities in opportunity in the United States. Another area of focus is how tools and programs could help disadvantaged groups (including those who lack digital skills) transition into careers that require more digital skills or create and grow their businesses. Examples include digital skills training, tools for small businesses, job finding platforms, information for low-wage workers, and others.