Eddie Alegbe with agency report
Facebook Incorporation has pledged to invest $100 million in the news industry at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the world.
This donation is coming in forms of grants and advertising spending that will help media platforms around the world to accurately report news more than ever before.
Accordingly, it became necessary as fake news are fast spreading and causing panics around the globe. $25 million will be provided in grant funding for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project, while the remaining $75 million will come in the form of “additional marketing spending” to worldwide news organisations.
Publishers are expected to be hit hard by the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The advertising revenue that many publishers rely on is being squeezed, as companies slash marketing budgets amid financial uncertainty. Research firm like eMarketer has lowered its growth projections for worldwide media advert spending by three percent in search engine land reports, while Reuters has reported that the virus could cost the United States advertising industry billions of dollars in lost revenue.
The American social media and technology company based in Menlo Park, California, stated in a statement that the company has pledged to do its bit to remove the misinformation posted on its platform, but the crisis is also putting pressure on its own moderation teams.
It said: There is so much misinformation that one fact-checking organisation, Snopes, has been forced to scale back its routine content production or else risk overwhelming its staff.
“High-quality and accurate reporting is more important than ever, as misinformation about the virus spreads online.
“If people needed more proof that local journalism is a vital public service, they’re getting it now.”
Facebook also said it’s part of its plans to concentrate its grants on the publishers that need them the most in the hardest hit countries in the world.
It announced the first series of grants last week that it would be giving $5,000 to 50 local newsrooms across the US and Canada to cover unexpected costs associated with covering the viral outbreak.
The $100 million comes in addition to the $300 million Facebook pledged to spend on news programmes, partnerships, and content at the beginning of 2019. Facebook said it also planned to invest $300 million over the course of three years.