Facebook is investing $300 million (approximately $389 CAD) into local news outlets globally over the next three years.
Campbell Brown, vice-president of global news partnerships at Facebook, said in a January 15th, 2019 blogpost that the money will go into news programs, partnerships and content.
Brown said Facebook hopes the money will help support local journalists and newsrooms “with their newsgathering needs in the immediate future” and help local news organizations “build sustainable business models, through both our product and partnership work.”
“Over time, we think this work can have the added benefit of fostering civic engagement, which research suggests is directly correlated with people’s reading of local news,” Brown said.
He added that the decision was brought on after asking what kind of news people wanted to see on Facebook.
“We heard one consistent answer: people want more local news, and local newsrooms are looking for more support,” he said.
Last year in January 2018, Facebook announced that it was going to feature more local news stories in its ‘News Feed.’
Facebook had cited similar reasons at the time for rolling out more local news.
In Canada, during last year’s fall economic update, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government announced three initiatives to support Canadian journalism, costing $595-million over five years.
Some observers were pleased and said the contribution could help news organizations, but opposition Members of Parliament from the NDP and Conservative Party said the government isn’t tackling the bigger issue, which is that traditional media losing ad revenue to global tech companies.
MPs have suggested that perhaps the government should start taxing tech giants like Facebook and Google.
Last August, Facebook and Instagram said they will begin charging GST by the middle of this year.
Facebook doesn’t indicate if any of the funding will be provided to Canadian media outlets.
The blogpost said that the $300 million will come from the Pulitzer Center, Report for America, Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund, Local Media Association and Local Media Consortium, American Journalism Project, and Community News Project.
MobileSyrup has reached out to Facebook’s Canadian representatives and will update the article with more information on whether the money will also support Canadian media outlets.