Facebook grants $100 million to coronavirus-hit global news media

The social media giant will give $25 million to local news media in the US and invest another $75 million in the form of "additional marketing spend"

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Facebook on Monday said that it will dole out $100 million to support news media at a time when the coronavirus crisis has made news reporting all the more important to keep people across the globe updated about the latest development related to the virus. The funding will be for both local publishers in the United States as well as other news media across the globe.

News media has been suffering particularly owing to the coronavirus crisis, which has seen a large number of advertisers pulling their advertising budget. This has been hurting the profits of newspapers across the globe, many of which are now struggling to pay wages of journalists, who have been working relentlessly to keep the world updated about the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.

Facebook comes forward with help

A picture shows the Facebook logo on a beach chair at the Facebook office in Berlin, Germany, 29 August 2016 Stefanie Loos/File Photo/Reuters

Social Media giant Facebook pledged that it will be investing. The remaining $75 million will be in the form of "additional marketing spend" for newspapers across the world, said Fcaebook. The grant will be provided through Facebook Journalism Project. Advertising revenue across the world is getting squeezed owing to the coronavirus outbreak, as companies continue to cut down marketing budget amid the growing financial uncertainty.

Facebook said that the first round of the grants have gone to 50 local newsrooms in the United States and Canada. The grand, said Facebook, is to cover "unexpected costs" associated with the coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. The $100 is over and above the $300 million that Facebook had pledged in 2019 to spend on news programs, partnerships and content.

Media industry suffers

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The media industry heavily depends on advertisement revenues to run its costs. However, the coronavirus outbreak has made companies cut their marketing budget, which has seen a decline in revenues over the past few weeks. According to a report by SearchEngineLords, research film eMarketer has already lowered the growth projections for worldwide media ad spend by 3%.

The biggest casualty in new media because of the coronavirus outbreak so far has been the newspapers, who largely depend on ads. This has also seen a number of newspapers slashing salaries following the coronavirus outbreak. BuzzFeed and American Media Inc. have already gone for pay cuts, while Vatican's 160-year-old newspaper L'Osservatore Romano stopped printing last week.

Also, in Louisiana, The Times-Picayune and The Advocate have asked many of its employees to go on forced leave, while many have been asked to do four-day-a-week shifts. Not only Facebook, last week, Google parent Alphabet also pledged more than $800 million in funds and ads to businesses, government and health organizations to survive the crisis faced due to the coronavirus outbreak. Understandably, Facebook's help comes just at the right time to help the ailing media industry.

This article was first published on March 30, 2020
Related topics : Coronavirus Facebook