Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday raised concerns around the global rise in hate and extremism in meeting with a top Facebook official and acknowledged the immense challenge of fighting hate speech online.

The prime minister held a virtual meeting with Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and encouraged the social media giant to increase its “footprint” in Pakistan.

The two discussed Facebook's investments in Pakistan, the company's support for digital literacy initiatives in the country and its work around COVID-19.

During the meeting, PM Imran acknowledged the immense potential digital platforms like Facebook provide, and the role they can play in giving “global opportunities to Pakistani youth and entrepreneurs and how the opportunities they create can lift people out of poverty”.

They also exchanged views on Facebook's connectivity investments and research grants that were awarded this year to Pakistan-based academics.

Other topics that were discussed included Facebook's blood donations product, which saw more than 5 million people sign up since its launch, as well as Facebook's support for the government's goal of a polio-free Pakistan.

The PM and Sandberg also spoke about the company's SheMeansBusiness Program which is training some 6,700 women across Pakistan.

Sandberg and PM Imran last met in Davos, Switzerland, in January this year.