Facebook plans to invest US$ 300 million in the next three years to increase its focus on local news. The idea will boost journalism, especially in Western nations where the industry is facing crisis. The move comes after Facebook had announced in early 2018 to de-emphasize news stories and videos, prioritizing posts from friends.
Facebook will Partner with Reputed News Publications
To test the interest levels among users for local news, Facebook introduced a feature called “Today In”. This shows local news and related information like crime reports, road closures, missing person reports, school announcements. Users from several cities in the U.S. and some in Australia have used this feature.
Facebook intends to partner with reputed news organisations to provide authentic local news. Therefore, it will approach renowned publications to fill its news feed. On the other hand, Facebook’s reputation and wide user base is a positive for news organisations.
Out of the US$ 300 million, Pulitzer Center will receive US$ 5 million to launch “Bringing Stories Home”. This initiative will support local newsrooms in the U.S. to cover local issues. Report for America will recruit 1,000 journalists across local newsrooms with the US$ 2 million it will receive from Facebook.
Furthermore, Local Media Association and the Local Media Consortium in the U.S. will receive US$ 1 million together. This fund will support local newsrooms to develop new revenue models. The money will also fund Facebook’s other initiatives like third-party fact checking and news literacy programs.