tech

Facebook is investing $100 million in journalism because accurate reporting is vital right now

The tech giant is investing $25 million as direct grants and $75 million as additional marketing spend

Facebook is going to invest $100 million in journalism. The timing could not be more perfect given the coronavirus pandemic needs accurate reporting and that is more vital than ever before.
Facebook is going to invest $100 million in journalism. The timing could not be more perfect given the coronavirus pandemic needs accurate reporting and that is more vital than ever before. (REUTERS)

Facebook is going to invest $100 million in journalism. The timing could not be more perfect given the coronavirus pandemic needs accurate reporting and that is more vital than ever before.

Of this $100 million, $25 million is going to be provided as direct grants for local news via the Facebook Journalism Project and the other $75 million will be given in the form of "additional marketing spend" to worldwide news organisations.

With the economic fallout the world is looking at, publishers are also expected to be hit hard. And advertising revenue, that many publishers depend on, is going to be slashed with companies cutting down marketing budgets. Research firm eMarketer has lowered its growth projection for media across the world by 3% and according to a Reuters report, the coronavirus pandemic will cost the US advertising industry billions in lost revenues.

With misinformation about the virus spreading online rampantly, it is more important than ever to support and ensure high-quality, accurate reporting. "If people needed more proof that local journalism is a vital public service, they're getting it now," Facebook said in its press release.

Facebook has promised to do its bit to tackle misinformation on its platform but this crisis is also putting a lot of pressure on its own moderating team. There is so much misinformation out there that one of the fact-checking teams, Snopes, has been forced to scale back its regular content production so as to not overwhelm their staff.

Facebook says that it plans to concentrate grants on publishers that need them the most, especially in countries that have been the hardest hit by this pandemic. The social media-giant announced the first series of grants last week when they said they would be giving $5,000 to 50 local newsrooms across Canada and the US to deal with "unexpected costs".