Social media giant, Facebook will invest $300 million in three years for local news globally since it has been facing blistering criticism due to its role in the erosion of the news business worldwide.
On Tuesday, Facebook said- “This investment by Facebook directly translates to investing time and money as a significant expansion of a plan which will help newsrooms in the US and abroad to create and sustain viable business models which will help them survive.“
This is not like earlier investments in the news business, but it can be distinguished by other investments in the way that it is not tied to Facebook-related products or recipients of the investments.
Earlier, the investments focused on the news business and had been designed to encourage publishers to rely on delivering its products to Facebook, but this eventually ended up hurting many news organizations especially after Facebook’s strategies changed.
Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of Global News Partnerships, in a statement, said- “We will continue fighting fake news, misinformation, and low-quality news content on Facebook. But we also have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to help local news organizations grow and thrive.“
Critics, in the past, have slammed Facebook for playing a role in providing a platform for hate speech, misinformation, and political meddling.
The first round of investments in the U.S. will help improve the resources for local reporting, as well as help in researching how technology can be used in improving the news gathering and creation of new products, recruit “trainee community journalists” and place them in local newsrooms as well as help fund programs that have been modeled after the Peace Corp, which would place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms over a span of five years.
The recipients of the investments included the Pulitzer Center, Report for America, Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund, the Local Media Association and Local Media Consortium, the American Journalism Project and the Community News Project.
Fran Wills, the CEO of the Local Media Consortium, who is an alliance of 80 news companies which represent 2,200 outlets, said that “Facebook is helping the group create a branded content program that aims at attracting new advertisers. Facebook is making this investment in order to help support local media companies, open up new revenue streams which would support local journalism. It is in their best interest to have as much content credibility as they can have on their platform and that is a direct benefit to the consumers.“
Last December, Facebook also announced a $6 million investment in the local publishers in Britain. It also has plans to expand an “Accelerator” program which was launched last year in order to help local newsrooms such as the San Francisco Chronicle and the Denver Post to improve its ability which will attract subscribers and membership donations.