San Francisco, March 31 (IANS) Facebook has pledged to invest an additional $100 million to support journalists at a time when ad revenues are declining due to the economic impact of the new coronavirus.

The social networking giant said the investment will include $25 million in emergency grant funding for local news through the Facebook Journalism Project, and an extra $75 million in marketing to get money to publishers around the world at a time when their advertising revenue is declining.

“This investment is in addition to the support we’ve already pledged to the news industry in response to COVID-19: $1 million in grants for local news, $1 million in grants for fact-checking organisations, and a $1-million donation to the International Fact-Checking Network,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

The news industry is working under extraordinary conditions to keep people informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local journalists are being hit especially hard, even as people turn to them for critical information to keep their friends, families and communities safe.

“Through the COVID-19 Community Network grant program, direct funding is helping journalists cover important stories when we all need them most,” said Campbell Brown, VP, Global News Partnerships.

“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,” he added.

Facebook said the new commitment builds upon $300 million it has committed already to serving journalists around the world through diverse and inclusive news programmes and partnerships, including Report for America, the Pulitzer Center, the Community News Project and the Facebook Journalism Project’s Local News Accelerator training programme.

–IANS

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