Facebook to invest $300M in news, focusing on local

19 Janvier, 2019, 01:38 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • “People want more local news and local newsrooms are looking for more support,” Campbell Brown Facebook's vice president in charge of global news partnerships said. —Pixabay

The decision was largely driven by demand for more local news and information, according to Campbell Brown, vice president, global news partnerships at Facebook.

The investment comes at a time when the social network's relationship with the media has been strained.

Central to this shift has been Facebook, which has been heavily reprimanded by governments and media organisations alike for its role in altering perceptions and affecting newsrooms worldwide.

It said the three-year project would be part of its efforts to "fight fake news, misinformation, and low quality news on Facebook", and said there was an "opportunity and a responsibility, to help local news organisations grow and thrive".

Unlike Facebook's previous investments into the news industry, this latest round is distinguished by how it is not tied to Facebook-related products.

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Facebook has been battling the rise of fake news online since it discovered that a Russian troll farm had been using its platform to spread misleading content in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Most importantly, the cash could help to keep local news alive. Additionally, the company has pledged $1 to the Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund, which is focused on improving how technology is used in newsrooms.

The first recipients of the investment include the Pulitzer Centre, Report For America, the Local Media Association and the Local Media Consortium, among others. The social media platform is also dedicating $20 million in 2019 toward an "Accelerator pilot", which will help local outlets transition toward subscription-based revenue models.

"We also applaud Facebook's commitment to the editorial independence that is absolutely essential to our success".

The move by Facebook follows the Google News Initiative unveiled past year by the United States internet search giant. Concerns over the company's handling of user data cropped up once more when it was revealed that Facebook may have been sharing their users' private messages with third parties, such as Netflix and Spotify. Since Facebook has been blamed for being the go-to platform for "fake news" disseminators, supporting journalism with integrity can't be a bad thing.

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