Facebook offering free digital help in Houston

- Facebook's stock up slightly today following a drop as reports surfaced that personal data of millions of its users had been obtained by a political data firm.

Now before news of this surfaced, Facebook had plans to offer free help to some of its users right here in Houston.

"Facebook, I think, chose the right place, the right city to be here right now," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner during today's kickoff.

And they'll be here for the next few days at The Julia Ideson Building (550 McKinney St.) offering hands-on trainings and workshops to grow businesses using their social media platform.

Ekiria Collins knows how helpful digital platforms, like Facebook, can be. Collins started "Yorkies of Houston" 12 years ago, breeding Yorkshire Terriers and putting her business on Facebook.

"When we first started out, it was about $45,000 a year. Now it's definitely $45,000 a month and growing," said Collins.

Collins learning, along the way, what seemed to be most effective to her Facebook audience.

"Use videos. Videos are the way to go now. People love videos so make sure you have your content at the beginning of the video versus at the end," said Collins.

But beginning today's events, an apology.

Facebook's Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, addressing the company's current issues of privacy following reports that millions of users personal data had been obtained by a political data firm during the 2016 election.

"We're looking very comprehensively for any other possible misuses of data. We are finding them and we are going to fix them and we are going to tell you about them," promised Sandberg.

Facebook also pledging that privacy maintains a priority of the company, especially during events like this Community Boost in Houston.

"We're going to have people on hand for small businesses to answer any questions that they have around, making sure that people's data and privacy is secure," said Katherine Shappley Vice President of Facebook's North American Small and Medium Businesses.

Facebook is also partnering with the Houston Area Urban League and Flatiron School, offering scholarships for students looking to enter the coding field. Future trainings are also being planned for as early as the summer in underserved communities around Houston.

The Boost Community Event runs through Friday.

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