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Do you use Facebook? Of course you do! But do you use it in a way that promotes and improves human rights?

If you have a great idea or application that uses the Facebook platform for human rights, the company just might give you a sweet $20,000 prize for your efforts. The cash is part of the Access Innovation Prize and is offered in partnership with Access, the tech human rights organization.

“The social web is a powerful tool for helping to promote human development around the world,” said Facebook global public policy VP Marne Levine in a statement today. “The Access Facebook Award will help to spur new ideas for leveraging Facebook to improve the world we live in, from creating tools that enhance the free flow of information to developing apps that expand educational access in rural areas, and we look forward to seeing the creative ideas that are submitted.”


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The prizes will be given to “individuals, organizations or networks that have the best actionable ideas of how to use information technology to promote and enable human rights or deliver a social good outcome.” Access is giving out five prizes in 2012; aside from the Facebook-themed prize, the group is also recognizing and rewarding innovations in blackout-resistant communications, encryption technology, patches for existing vulnerabilities in human rights/activism software, and “the best actionable idea of how communication technologies can be used to promote and enable human rights.”

From the Access website:

The goal of the Access Facebook Award is to encourage the development of uses and apps on the Facebook platform that promote human development, including tools that enhance freedom of speech and expression or improve the economic well-being of disadvantaged groups. We are looking for initiatives from across the world, in all languages and addressing the issues that are important to you and your community. The Access Facebook Award is designed to discover and reward ideas that demonstrate unique promise, opportunity and possibility. You can submit a completed project, improve an existing tool or create something totally new. There will be a preference for projects that are completed or close to completion.

For example, you might use the platform to build a Facebook app for detecting election fraud, a mobile app for helping people find drinkable water, or a Page for crowdsourcing legislation ideas.

You can submit your idea, page, or app anytime between now and August 15 directly to prize@accessnow.org. The winner will get the $20,000 as well as public announcements from Access and Facebook and — depending on the idea — an opportunity to work with Facebook directly.

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