Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
Facebook has announced a partnership with Central New Mexico Community College to create a digital marketing certificate program that will be offered in the fall.
Company officials say the certificate will be the first educational program of its kind for the social media giant, and its first partnership with a community college.
The certificate is likely to be an eight- to 12-week program, according to CNM’s Debbie Johnson, though she cautioned that the college and Facebook are still discussing details.
The company is also funding 32 scholarships for CNM’s Deep Dive Coding Bootcamp.
The announcement was made Monday at Facebook Community Boost, a weeklong event at the National Hispanic Cultural Center aimed at the small-business community.
A company spokeswoman said the event had about 1,200 registrants. The keynote speaker was Marne Levine, chief operating officer of Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
Several local and state dignitaries were present for the kickoff.
In a statement, Gov. Susana Martinez called the Community Boost program a “valuable tool in our fight to grow New Mexico’s economy” and emphasized the economic impact of the Facebook data center in Los Lunas, an investment the company estimates is around $1 billion.
U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democratic candidate for governor and one of the speakers at the event, said in an interview that the event highlighted not only the importance of digital skills for New Mexico’s workforce, but also the need for internet access throughout the state to make use of those skills. She said Facebook “has to be at the table” when it comes to discussions about how to increase broadband internet access throughout the state.
“They can’t reach their customers if those customers can’t get online.”
In a speech at the event, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller acknowledged that the city does not have a Facebook page and said it needs to “lead the way” in the digital world. He also said the city is trying to replace many of its out-of-state contractors with some of the area’s 10,000 small businesses, but the digital infrastructure needs to be in place on both sides first.
Asked by the Journal about the timing of the local contract initiative, Keller said city is planning to do a review this summer of the city’s existing contracts.
Absent from the speakers’ remarks were references to Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting firm that was found to have improperly accessed the data of up to 87 million Facebook users. In an interview with the Journal, Levine said there was no evidence to suggest Instagram data had been accessed by Cambridge Analytica, though Instagram is “looking into doing a full audit and investigation” into its data security.
“In terms of privacy and safety, it’s at the core of everything we do,” Levine said.
Levine also noted Instagram recently updated its terms of service, partly to comply with European privacy regulations that go into effect May 25.
The new terms note Instagram doesn’t currently use Facebook’s facial recognition technology but tells users that “if we introduce it, we’ll let you know and give you a choice.”
Levine said the company understands the issue is “sensitive” and is committed to obtaining permission from users if the technology is ever integrated into the Instagram platform.
Albuquerque is the third stop on the Community Boost tour for Facebook, which has already launched in Houston and St. Louis, Mo. The company has said it plans to bring the program to 30 U.S. cities this year.
At the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Lauren Hall of the Albuquerque-based NM Solar Group took a break before entering a training session called “Connecting With Local Shoppers.” She said the company already used Facebook and Instagram quite a bit but is hoping to hone its strategy even further.
“I’m looking for more information,” she said. “We’ll see what happens.”