Social media giant Facebook has announced that it will invest $100 million in the journalism industry. The announcement comes at a time when the world is not only struggling with ongoing coronavirus pandemic but also with fake news associated with the pandemic. Facebook believes that at this time of outbreak high quality and accurate reporting is of utmost importance.
Of the $100 million, $25 million will go as a grant fund for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project, and the $75 million will be in the form of ‘additional marketing spend’ and will go to worldwide news organisations.
Print and electronic media are expected to be hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak, as the ad revenue on which many firms rely on will get thin, owing to the reduced marketing budgets amid this outbreak and economic fallout. According to a report by a research firm eMarketer, global media ad spends is set to reduce by 3 per cent.
Facebook has also pledged to combat misinformation and harmful content from spreading on its platform and is working hard to provide accurate information. The company also announced a few steps including a COVID-19 Information Center, which is now featured at the top of News Feed on Facebook in several countries and includes real-time updates from national health authorities and global organisations, such as WHO.
On WhatsApp, people can sign up to receive WHO Health Alert on WhatsApp, a daily report with the latest numbers of COVID-19 cases. It also includes tips on how to prevent the spread of the disease as well as answers to commonly asked questions that people can easily send to their friends and family.
The $100 million announced today is in addition to the $300 million Facebook pledged to spend on news programs, partnerships, and content in early 2019.