Facebook News Kicks Off In Australia, As Social Media Giant Promises To Pour $15m Into Local Journalism

Facebook News Kicks Off In Australia, As Social Media Giant Promises To Pour $15m Into Local Journalism
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Facebook is upping its efforts in supporting journalism in Australia, announcing a new $15 million news fund and the long-awaited launch of Facebook News in Australia.

After previously launching in the US and UK, Facebook confirmed it would be bringing Facebook News to Australia earlier this year, after it announced a three-year deal with News Corp in Australia, which will see the social media company pay for news content.

Facebook News creates a separate tab for news on the Facebook app and compiles personalised stories as well as top stories chosen by a team of journalists. It also takes into consideration factors such as accuracy and diversity of voices when promoting certain stories.

As well as providing users with greater access to quality news content, Facebook News also serves as a way for publishers to licence their content on the network.

While we have known Facebook News would be coming to Australia eventually, today, the tech giant has confirmed the news service will now be available to a small number of users.

“We are also pleased to announce Facebook News will begin to roll out to a small number of Australians,” said Facebook Head of News Partnerships for Facebook Australia Andrew Hunter.

“This phased launch will ensure the product works in a way that provides benefit to Australian audiences and publishers. We’re planning to expand Facebook News to more Australians through the coming months.”

Details of payments to be made to publishers under the Facebook News initiative have not been released.

News Fund

As well as confirming the launch of Facebook News in Australia, Facebook also revealed it has put aside $15 million to support journalism in Australia over the next three years.

The financial support will come via two new funds, the Newsroom Sustainability Fund and the Public Interest Journalism Fund.

“The Newsroom Sustainability Fund will allocate AU$2.5 million per year over three years, in grants of up to AU$250,000 to fund regional newsrooms and digital-first publications. Funding will go towards innovation and revenue-generating projects, such as subscription paywalls and membership program development,” said Hunter.

“The Public Interest Journalism Fund will also allocate AU$2.5 million per year over three years, providing grants of up to AU$120,000, to small, regional publishers and independent journalists to fund news projects of public interest value and to encourage media diversity. We are particularly focused on how the fund could provide support for underserved communities – such as Indigenous Australians, LGBTQI+ community, youth and women’s issues, rural affairs and local civic journalism.”

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