Social media giant Facebook, still dealing with the questions about the role of “fake news” shared on its platform in relation to the 2016 Presidential election, announced Tuesday that it plans to invest $300 million in local news over the next three years, including $1 to $5 million each in six journalism non-profits.
Moreover, Facebook also plans to invest $20 million on its own in-house news products. Here’s the full announcement — posted, appropriately, on Facebook.
Content, really, is one of the lifeblood’s of Facebook’s business model. They’re not spending millions on this because it doesn’t make business sense for them. It’s good P.R., too. But, hopefully, the moves help us all clear up what’s real and what’s not.
From the Columbia Journalism Review:
While Facebook described the funding news as a commitment to local journalism, and entitled its blog post, “Doing More to Support Local News,” Brown says the $300 million figure includes all of the social network’s funding of media and journalism, including the money it has been spending to get media companies to produce content for its Watch video feature.
And while a focus on reporting sounds like a valuable thing, the funding Facebook is providing for both the Local Media Consortium and the Local Media Association isn’t for local reporting per se, but rather to help those groups create a “branded content strategy,” meaning a revenue-generating model that allows advertisers to sponsor a publisher’s content.
The CEO of the Local Media Consortium, Fran Willis, said in a statement released by Facebook that the idea behind the initiative is to “help our members create a branded content strategy that will create credible environments for brands.”
In the meantime, we’ll keep informing you here.