Facebook has announced that it will donate $100 million globally to support news organizations hurting from the Coronavirus pandemic, citing the need for reliable information about the crisis.
The company is offering $25 million in grants to local news outlets in the US through the Facebook Journalism Project and will spend $75 million in a marketing drive aimed at news organizations internationally in response to the coronavirus-prompted economic downturn, which has caused advertising to plummet and has threatened media industry revenues.
Facebook’s news partnerships director, Campbell Brown, said “The news industry is working under extraordinary conditions to keep people informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“At a time when journalism is needed more than ever, ad revenues are declining due to the economic impact of the virus. Local journalists are being hit especially hard, even as people turn to them for critical information to keep their friends, families and communities safe.”
Facebook said it will offer grants to publishers most in need in the hardest-hit countries.
The move comes amid growing concerns of cutbacks and closures of news organizations hit by lockdowns and a massive slump in advertising resulting from the health crisis.
In recent months Facebook and Google have stepped up efforts to help news organizations, following criticism that their dominance of online advertising has made it difficult for media to profit from digital operations.
Facebook has also supported fact-checking operations with AFP and other media companies, including Reuters and the Associated Press, under which content rated false is downgraded in news feeds so that fewer people see it.