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Noah Berger / AP

The purpose of the "Community Boost" program is to help provide more people with the digital skills they need to compete in the modern economy.

Why it matters: The investment in small businesses is part of broader push in communities across the board since Mark Zuckerberg released a new mission for the company earlier this year to build a more global community.

Details of the program:

  • The Facebook Community Boost team will visit up to 30 US cities, including, St. Louis, Albuquerque, Des Moines, Greenville, and Houston, in 2018.
  • Facebook employees will help small businesses establish online profiles on mobile, beginning with Facebook properties: Facebook, Instagram and Messenger/WhatsApp.
  • It will train people on digital skills, which will eventually include better video and photo-taking skills, as well as other programming.

Facebook has made a concerted effort to help small businesses: Since 2011 Facebook says it has invested more than $1 billion dollars on teams, technology, tools, support and research to help small businesses. Here's why:

  • Businesses have indicated to Facebook that they want more digital training more than anything, according to Facebook VP of Small Business Dan Levy. "For years, if a business owner wanted to create a video commercial, it would cost tens of thousands of dollars," says Levy. Small businesses have indicated that they've been intimidated to create videos. We want to help them with that." Today, more than 4 million small businesses on Facebook create videos.
  • Small businesses are also an important part of Facebook and Instagram's growing advertising community: Facebook says it's main app has roughly 6 million advertisers and Instagram has over 2 million. The company has touted its success in getting small and medium-sized businesses to advertise on its platform with easy-to-use self-service advertising tools.
  • Facebook has been investing in small business training for years, but they are ramping up digital literacy resources now given how quickly the landscape is changing. For example, more than 1 million small businesses have taken advantage of Facebook's free online learning hub, Blueprint and more than 70 million small businesses use Facebook Pages each month. The company says it recently created a digital marketing curriculum that will help train 3,000 Michiganders in digital skills development over the next two years.

Go deeper

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Updated 5 hours ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.