Facebook pledges $100M to help journalists cover coronavirus pandemic

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Monday a $100 million commitment to support local news outlets, committing $25 million for emergency grant funding through the Facebook Journalism Project and $75 million in marketing to support journalists amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“As part of our efforts to support the news ecosystem and make sure everyone has access to accurate and timely information, we’re investing $100 million in new funds to support journalists, especially focused on local news,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

“Right now journalists are working under very difficult conditions to keep their communities informed and many news organizations are struggling due to the economic impact of the outbreak,” Zuckerberg added. “Local news is especially hard hit, so we’re committing $25 million for emergency grant funding through the Facebook Journalism Project and another $75 million in marketing spend to support journalists and news organizations covering the crisis.”

“This new emergency program is in addition to the $300 million we’ve committed to supporting news and local news in particular, over the next few years. We’re hoping this will support many journalists through this period so they can continue doing their critical work of keeping all of us informed,” Zuckerberg said.

Facebook has also started several other initiatives to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, it announced it would launch a $100 million program consisting of cash grants and ad credits in an effort to help small businesses.

It is also giving every one of its nearly 45,000 employees a $1,000 bonus to assist them during the ongoing pandemic.

Facebook vice president of global news partnerships Campbell Brown explained the COVID-19 Community Network grant program, which aims to help journalists cover important stories during tough times.

“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 US and Canada,” Brown wrote, noting “The Post and Courier,” “Southeast Missourian” and “El Paso Matters” are three of the local papers that have used funding to cover the coronavirus pandemic.

“If people needed more proof that local journalism is a vital public service, they’re getting it now. 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,” Brown wrote.