The $3 million accelerator program comes as Facebook faces criticism for sucking ad revenue away from the media industry.
As Facebook fights fake news, the company is trying to help real newspapers stay financially afloat.
Facebook is spending $3 million on a new accelerator program designed to help newspapers develop strategies to grow their digital subscribers on and off Facebook.
“Grant funding will empower each publisher to implement solutions that help elevate their subscription business,” Facebook’s head of news partnerships Campbell Brown said in a blog post.
The news comes after Facebook said it would feature more local news on the platform. The goal: to “build community” across Facebook, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the time.
The only problem is that many newspapers are struggling to survive, and Facebook itself is partly to blame; the company has been siphoning away ad revenue from the media industry, causing a few noteworthy figures to complain.
On Monday, CNN president Jeff Zucker said government regulators should investigate Facebook and Google over their dominance in the internet industry.
A trade group of over 2,000 US news groups has also been critical of Facebook’s control over the digital advertising market. It’s been lobbying Congress to pass legislation that’ll let the media industry collectively negotiate better terms with Facebook and Google for a fair share of the ad revenue.
Spending $3 million on local newspapers will probably do little to address the ongoing criticism. But the accelerator program currently has 13 enrollees, including major newspapers such as The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle.
The accelerator is the latest effort from the Facebook Journalism Project, which launched last year and collaborates with local media organizations to promote their stories. “We will be making additional investments in organizations and programs committed to strengthening and advancing the future of journalism,” Brown added in her post.