In a bid to help the media deliver “accurate and timely information” as the world is rocked with the unprecedented outbreak of deadly coronavirus, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced $100 million in new funds to support journalists on March 30. In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg acknowledged that the journalists are working “under very difficult conditions” in order to keep their communities informed. Therefore, the California-based company has pledged $25 million for emergency funding through Facebook Journalism Project and $75 million in marketing to support media personnel and news organisations covering the pandemic.
According to reports, the first round of Facebook’s funds went to at least 50 local newsrooms in the United States and Canada. The American businesses have stood up in several ways to contribute to the impact of the pandemic as many other firms have been forced to scale back their operations. On March 27, Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc said that it would donate at least $800 million in funds and advertisement credits to businesses, government and health organisations.
Zuckerberg said, “As part of our efforts to support the news ecosystem and make sure everyone has access to accurate and timely information, we're investing $100 million in new funds to support journalists, especially focused on local news.”
He added, “Right now journalists are working under very difficult conditions to keep their communities informed, and many news organizations are struggling due to the economic impact of the outbreak”.
The coronavirus, which originated in China in December 2019, has now claimed over 37,830 lives worldwide as of March 31. According to the tally by international news agency, the pandemic has now spread to 200 countries and has infected at least 786,332 people. Out of the total infections, 165,660 have been recovered but the easily spread virus is continuing to disrupt many lives. Major cities have been put under lockdown in almost all countries including Spain, and the economy is struggling.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared the coronavirus as a global pandemic on March 11 while the virus has now spread to all continents except Antarctica, resulting in the thousands of deaths worldwide. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom further even urged all nations to get very serious over the issue and take all necessary measures to contain the virus from spreading at this rate. Tedros said, that the word 'Pandemic' cannot be used lightly or carelessly due to its strong connotation.