Facebook to Invest $100 Million to Help News Outlets Amid Coronavirus

Facebook Generic - Getty - H 2016
Getty Images

Facebook Generic - Getty - H 2016

"At a time when journalism is needed more than ever, ad revenues are declining due to the economic impact of the virus," the social media giant says.

Social media giant Facebook on Monday unveiled an additional $100 million pledge to invest in support of the news industry amid the coronavirus crisis.

The capital injection includes $25 million in emergency grant funding for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project, and $75 million in marketing spend "to move money over to news organizations around the world."

Said Facebook: "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."

Added the company: "Through the COVID-19 Community Network grant program, direct funding is helping journalists cover important stories when we all need them most. We're building on this work and will direct a portion of these funds to publishers most in need in the hardest hit countries. The first round of these grants went to 50 local newsrooms in the U.S. and Canada."

Among examples, the social media company mentioned The Post and Courier in South Carolina, which took down its paywall for coronavirus stories, the Southeast Missourian, which is publishing email newsletters highlighting coronavirus coverage, and El Paso Matters in Texas, a new local online news organization launched earlier this year that will use its grant to hire freelance reporters and translators to expand coverage of the coronavirus in El Paso and across the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

"This money will not only help keep journalists reporting right now amidst the crisis, the funding will also fuel opportunities for local media to accelerate business transformation toward a more sustainable digital footing,” said Nancy Lane, CEO of the Local Media Association.

"If people needed more proof that local journalism is a vital public service, they're getting it now," Said Facebook on Monday. "And while almost all businesses are facing adverse financial effects from this crisis, we recognize we're in a more privileged position than most, and we want to help."

Facebook previously committed $300 million to journalists around the world "through diverse and inclusive news programs and partnerships."