Facebook Makes $100 Million Offer To Local TV Hard Hit By COVID-19

Facebook has seemingly been a pariah to the traditional media for sometime. While legacy news media tries to be true to journalistic methods, Facebook hasn’t always followed suit.

Will that be changing?

A couple of years ago, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said the company was “responsible for the content” on its platform.” Baby steps.

Facebook announced last week it would give $25 million in grants to local TV/media news outlets and spend $75 million in a marketing drive for global media organizations, given the economic downturn created by the coronavirus.

It isn’t for lack of interest in news — at least for legacy TV stations and other local media digital outlets. There is greater interest and usage of news overall. What isn’t there is advertising dollars to support it.

We blame a lot of this on Facebook — allowing bad actors to infiltrate the 2016 presidential election on its platform, misguided attempts to protect privacy, and inflated video metrics upsetting social-media advertisers.



The latter resulted in average viewership metrics on some videos increased by up to 900% as a result of Facebook's errors, according to reports. As a result, Facebook agreed to settle a lawsuit, paying $40 million in a settlement. Some would call this chump change for the company.

And now it wants to give $100 million to local media and reporters affected by lower advertising. Is all this just Facebook looking to make more amends?

For a long time, Facebook's news efforts have been blurred by bad actors distributing a toxic mix of advertising/editorial fused with unconfirmed messages. That’s not the way journalists and the media have traditionally operated.

Recently, Facebook and Twitter have made some efforts to slow down bad content. There is still a long way to go.

For a long time, local news publications — TV stations, newspapers and otherwise — have used Facebook as a great promotional tool for their platforms straight-head news. The frenemy modifier has worked here for some.

In other news, the Google News Initiative is giving $6.5 million to a number of nonprofit, fact-checking groups worldwide to help get accurate information to the public about COVID-19, amid rumors, hoaxes and false claims.

It’s not clear any of this will promote more meaningful trust in social media, given even higher consumption of traditional news outlets.

All this comes as overall revenue gains for big digital media providers will tank over the next several months, with many expecting near-term massive advertising declines. An IAB survey says this could mean a 40% drop in April/May; somewhat abating in the next two months -- June/July.

So both new and older media are now at the same downward advertising inflection point. What is on the other side?

4 comments about "Facebook Makes $100 Million Offer To Local TV Hard Hit By COVID-19".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 6, 2020 at 11:12 a.m.

    Wayne, local TV news is an $10-11 billion  business where ad revenue is concerned and FB's "grant" of $25 million---whatever form it takes----isn't going to make much of a difference, I'm afraid. If FB was serious, it should "donate" a vastly greater sum to help stations better staff their news rooms as well as helping other local news media---newspapers and radio-- to invest more to keep thier audiences better informed. Somehow, I don't see this happening---but I could be wrong.

  2. ZIAUR RAHMAN from Bangladeshi, April 6, 2020 at 2:17 p.m.

    Virus dangerous all people

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, April 6, 2020 at 8:57 p.m.

    $100 million - better than nothing, but bubkas.

  4. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, April 7, 2020 at 3:31 p.m.

    Wayne:  I believe you could have made this much harder hitting in view of the "bubkas" amount being offerred to local media outlets via this sham PR gesture.   
    Please remember that Fakebook were called "digital gangsters" in an official British Parliamentary Report in early 2019 to which I believe Mark Zuckererg was ultimately a no show after long delays and excuses.
    Zuckerberg is now worth approximately $60+ billion.  As such, is he the greatest con man the world has ever seen?  When will you and Wendy Davis be be writing this treatise?  Surely Media Post readers deserve this level of reporting once in a while?

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