How Facebook and Google became two of the biggest funders of journalism

In March this year, Google announced with much fanfare the launch of its Google News Initiative, a $300 million programmed aimed at ‘building a strong future for journalism’ as the company put it. That came on top of the previous Digital News Initiative, which was set up by Google in 2015 and included a $170 million innovation fund aimed at the European media industry. In the similar fashion, Facebook, too, has been funnelling money into journalism projects, including the News Integrity Initiative—a $14 million investment in a project run by City University of New York—and the Facebook Journalism Project, a wide-ranging venture the company says is designed to help media companies develop new storytelling tools and ways of promoting news literacy.

Taken together, Facebook and Google have now committed more than half a billion dollars to various journalistic programmes and media partnerships over the past three years, not including the money spent internally on developing media-focused products like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s competing AMP mobile project. The result: These mega-platforms are now two of the largest funders of journalism in the world.

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