Faaez Samadi
Feb 28, 2019

Facebook launches $3.6 million Australian news project

Partnership with Walkley Foundation part of ongoing journalism investment programme.

Facebook launches $3.6 million Australian news project

Facebook has announced a partnership with The Walkley Foundation in Australia pledging A$5 million (US$3.57 million) to support the country’s news industry.

The initiative will see Facebook’s Journalism Project News Accelerator, piloted in the US last year, come to Australia. The programme provides training and funding for news organisation to grow and monetise their audiences on Facebook. The Walkley Foundation, established in 1956 to support Australian journalism, will administer the funding locally.

Facebook is also sponsoring the Walkley Awards, the foundation's mid-year awards recognising female leaders and emerging talent, which contributes to a school media literacy programme.

“The Walkley Foundation for journalism welcomes this commitment to Australian news as part of Facebook’s wider support for the global news industry,” foundation CEO Louisa Graham said. 

Furthermore, Facebook has also partnered with the newly established Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom, to help promote media freedom and the safety of journalists in Asia-Pacific.

Peter Greste, director of AJP said: “With media freedom increasingly under assault across the region, this partnership is incredibly timely. It will help the Alliance support and advocate for journalists throughout Asia-Pacific, so they can report and investigate freely and safely.”

The announcements are the latest steps of Facebook’s commitment to pledge US$300 million over three years in news partnerships and content, which comes off the back of huge criticism of the platform regarding its role in taking much-needed advertising revenue away from publishers, together with Google.

As Facebook made its announcement, The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued a call for more feedback regarding its inquiry into digital advertising platforms, which is primarily focused on Facebook and Google (see "Australian watchdog: Give us more opinions on duopoly power").  

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