Facebook to invest $300M to boost local news

Facebook to invest $300M to boost local news

Facebook is planning to invest $300 million over the next three years to boost local news initiatives around the world, the social media giant announced on Monday. 

The investment comes as the company faces sharp criticism and scrutiny over its role in the spread of misinformation and the platform's contributions to the decline of local print journalism. 

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"[Facebook] can't uninvent the internet," Campbell Brown, Facebook's head of global news partnerships, told CBS, adding that the company hopes to "be part of helping find a solution." 

"We don't want publishers to be dependent on us, but we do want to support them," Brown told CNN.

Critics say Facebook aided the decline of local news as advertisers turned toward the social media platform and audiences around the world began to use Facebook as their main method of consuming news. 
 
Many news outlets rely heavily on Facebook traffic for their business models, a tenuous position as Facebook's newsfeed changes constantly. 
 
In response to criticism from journalists and experts, Facebook has launched a series of local news initiatives, including efforts to alter its newsfeed to promote local sources and expand its "Today In" local news aggregation feature. 
 
The company says it is responding to a desire from users to see more local content.

The $300 million investment is Facebook's largest yet into the news industry. 

“We’re going to continue fighting fake news, misinformation, and low quality news on Facebook,” Brown said in a statement. “But we also have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to help local news organizations grow and thrive.”

The company is committing to invest in "news programs, partnerships and content." That includes a $5 million grant to the nonprofit Pulitzer Center, which will provide U.S. newsrooms with grants to boost coverage of local issues, CBS noted.

Facebook will also pour some of the investment into a training program that places journalists in struggling newsrooms across the U.S.

“Facebook is making this investment to help support local media companies ... open up new revenue streams that will support local journalism,” Fran Wills, CEO of the Local Media Consortium, told Reuters.

Facebook in the most request quarter posted a profit of $5.13 billion.