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Facebook to train 65,000, boost investment in France

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Facebook says the investment is not response to complaints about its tax payment policy REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Facebook has announced it is to train 65,000 French people in digital skills as part of a series of free schemes to help women set up businesses and the long-term unemployed get back to work. The social media giant will also invest an additional 10 million euros into artificial intelligence in France by 2022, its statement said.


Facebook will work with 15,000 French women hoping to start their own companies, in an expansion of the She Means Business campaign already present in several countries.

Some 3,500 of them will be given intensive free computer training in several French cities, while another 11,500 will be given access to an online course.

The California-based company will also work in partnership with France's national unemployment agency to help 50,000 jobseekers with computer skills in a project that will last until 2019.

Its artificial intelligence (AI) investment should allow Facebook to double to 60 the number of researchers at its main hub in Paris, one of four worldwide.

"These initiatives are part of a pan-European programme, with Facebook hoping to train a million people and business founders by 2020," the statement said. "Facebook wants to play a key role in France's ambition to become the international champion of AI."

The extra 10-million-euro investment will provide 10 servers and open datasets for French public institutions.

Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg was to meet President Emmanuel Macron on Monday before opening an interactive exhibition, called "Connexions", at Paris's Station F new technology hub.

The company says the investment is not a response to France's criticism of the four US giants - Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple - for avoiding paying taxes in Europe and other practices but its southern Europe boss, Laurent Solly, recently said that the company will soon be paying higher taxes in France.

Macron was to meet 140 multinational bosses at the Versailles château on Monday as part of his charm offensive to attract foreign investment.