Bhutan is fast on its way to becoming digital, and the government of Bhutan is working intensely to build capacity of their officers to effectively and efficiently deal with the change heralded by technology. Department of Information and Media (DoIM) invited DEF to conduct a social media workshop for the ICT officers from 18 districts or dzongkhags. ICT officers in the districts have to deal with fake news, trolling and fake accounts and they are often ill-equipped. Besides, marketing and promotion of events are not promoted well to attract tourism, which is the main industry in the country.
One ICT officer shared that in his district he faced a peculiar problem. Somebody created an identical Facebook account to the official Facebook account of the district administration. And whenever something was posted on the official Facebook account for public, the imposter account posted a retaliatory post. This left the people of the district confused as they didn’t know which account to trust. The officer was in a predicament as this gave way to lot of fake news and misinformation. The district administration didn’t have the knowledge and resources to track down the admin of the account. The ICT officer didn’t know how to connect with Facebook to turn the official Facebook page into a verified account so that general people of the district could make the distinction between real and fake. Eventually he chose to close down the official Facebook account of the district administration to stop the spread of fake news.
The 5-day social media workshop was conducted by Ravi Guria, Dy. Programme Manager, DEF. He trained around 20 ICT officers in digital content creation, digital story-telling, fighting fake news, social media monitoring, social media marketing and online privacy and security. The workshop was interactive and the participants participated in number of practical exercises that helped in comprehension and absorption of the knowledge.
The ICT officers have gone back to their respective districts and are applying the knowledge gained at the workshop. All the ICT officers worked individually earlier—are connected now through a WhatsApp group and Facebook, and they are growing together by sharing knowledge, insights and experiences.