Facebook pledges $100 million to support journalism amid Covid-19 pandemic

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 31, 2020 Published on March 31, 2020

File Photo   -  REUTERS

The first round of these grants went to 50 local newsrooms in the US and Canada

Facebook, on Monday, announced a $100 million investment to support journalism during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The grants included $25 million in emergency grant funding for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project. It also included a $75 million in marketing “to get money to publishers around the world at a time when their advertising revenue is declining,” Facebook had said.

The grant is to support journalism, especially local news which is hit by loss in ad revenue due to the pandemic.

“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,” Facebook had said.

Falling revenue

According to a Reuters report, the ad industry could lose nearly $26 billion in revenue or a 10.6 per cent decline due to the pandemic.

Alex Schultz, VP of Analytics, and Jay Parikh, VP of Engineering at Facebook, in a detailed report has said that the social media giant’s own ad revenue has been hit despite a massive surge in usage during the pandemic.

“Our business is being adversely affected like so many others around the world. We don’t monetize many of the services where we’re seeing increased engagement, and we’ve seen a weakening in our ads business in countries taking aggressive actions to reduce the spread of Covid-19,” Schultz and Parikh had said.

The first round of these grants went to 50 local newsrooms in the US and Canada.

This investment is in addition to Facebook’s earlier donations to the news industry meant for curbing the spread of misinformation. These donations included a $1 million in grants for local news, $1 million in grants for fact-checking organisations, and a $1 million donation to the International Fact-Checking Network.

Published on March 31, 2020

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