Facebook has announced that it will be investing $100 Million in the news industry at a time when combating misinformation is critical. In a blog post shared on Monday, 30 March 2020, the social media giant said that it would grant $25 Million in funding for news agencies and the remaining $75 Million would be used on “additional marketing spend”.
The investment is in response to a COVID-19-prompted economic downturn as the result of forced business shut down over the outbreak. The New York Times reports that although during this time there has been a surge in traffic across news sites, “the media industry has seen cutbacks as advertising has dropped sharply”. This has lead to major publications laying off staff and cutting salaries.
“The news industry is working under extraordinary conditions to keep people informed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Campbell Brown, VP of global news partnerships for Facebook. “If people needed more proof that local journalism is a vital public service, they’re getting it now.”
Facebook hopes that this investment not only keeps journalists reporting now but also allows agencies to take bigger strides towards a sustainable future. Brown adds, “this commitment builds upon $300 million we’ve committed already to serving journalists around the world through diverse and inclusive news programs and partnerships”.
Facebook on the frontlines of the battle against fake news
Facebook – alongside Google, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn and Microsoft – says that it will be working to protect its users from coronavirus-related misinformation.
“We are working closely together on COVID-19 response efforts,” reads the joint industry statement. “We’re helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world. We invite other companies to join us as we work to keep our communities healthy and safe.”
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