The social media giant’s initiative could result in thousands of ambassadors in 4,500 schools being trained as digital leaders or anti-bullying ambassadors over the next two years as part of its commitment to online safety. It will also provide access to face-to-face training, dedicated online resources and forums.
The move was sparked by a survey from the digital market research company ResearchBods. It found that 63 per cent of 13 to 17-year-olds wanted their schools to involve more young people in educating other pupils about using social media safely and positively. Seventy-two per cent of that age group were more likely to confide in a peer than a parent (60 per cent) or a teacher (34 per cent) if they experienced online bullying, and more than half (55 per cent) said they would rather deal with the problem alone than turn to an adult.
Tessy Ojo, chief executive of anti-bullying campaign The Diana Award, said Facebook’s support would enable it to upscale its work by empowering thousands more young people to stand up to bullying and to protect their peers.
"We know that what happens offline often extends to young people’s online world," she said.
"This is why we are proud to partner with Facebook, creating a community of young people who will help to shape the behaviour and attitude of their peers as well as take responsibility for their wellbeing."
Antigone Davis, head of global safety policy at Facebook said: "This partnership is the next step in our ongoing effort to help young people build safe and supportive communities.
"Over the past decade, we have developed a wealth of innovative resources on Facebook that enable young people to look after themselves and their peers, from our updated safety centre to our online reporting tools. By offering trained digital safety ambassadors to every UK secondary school, we are now taking this commitment offline too."