In recent times, social media platform Facebook has been criticised of its role in causing an erosion of the news business worldwide and hence the company would be investing $300 million over a three year period in local news globally to resurrect them.
The company said on Tuesday that the company has already drawn up a plan for aiding news organizations in the US and in other markets to create sustainable and viable business models to survive over long periods and the latest investment of time and money is a significant expansion of that plan.
Recipients of the investments say that the manner in which the latest investment would not be linked to Facebook-related products distinguishes it from its former investments in the news business.
Most of the earlier investments that had been made by Facebook in news media were such designed that the new organizations had to depend on offering their news materials on Facebook and that strategy saw such news organizations suffering after a change of strategies and focus by the social media platform.
“We’re going to continue fighting fake news, misinformation, and low quality news on Facebook,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president of Global News Partnerships said in a statement. “But we also have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to help local news organizations grow and thrive.”
Facebook has been severely criticised for allowing its platform to be used as a means of spreading hate speech, misinformation and political meddling.
Creation of new products, recruit “trainee community journalists”, increasing resources for local reporting and helping to research on how to use technology to enhance news gathering would be the primary aims of the first round of investments that are to be made in the U.S. The investment would also help run a program that has been modled on the Peace Corp, which aims to place about 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms over a period of five years.
The Local Media Consortium, the American Journalism Project, the Community News Project, the Pulitzer Center, Report for America and the Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund would be among the recipients of the investments.
Facebook is helping the group in the creation of a branded content program which would be able to attract new advertisers, said Fran Wills, CEO of the Local Media Consortium, an alliance of 80 news companies representing 2,200 outlets. “Facebook is making this investment to help support local media companies … open up new revenue streams that will support local journalism,” she said.
“It’s in their best interest to have as much credible content as they can have on their platform and that’s a direct benefit to consumers,” Wills said.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)