Facebook is continuing its push to improve how the general public interacts with news and current events on its platform.
The social media giant today announced the launch of a Local News Accelerator propelled by a $2.5 million investment into the Canadian news ecosystem. The program will focus on Canada and participating publishers will be selected in consultation with Canadian news partners. The initiative will work with 10 to 15 news organizations to unlock strategies that can aid publishers in building digital audiences, whether that be on Facebook or other platforms, and create defensible business models to stay profitable and innovative in a changing industry. The exact breakdown of the program’s funding is not being made public.
Publishers will develop their own independent projects to address their own needs with the goal of driving incremental revenue. Grant funding from Facebook will then empower each of these publishers to implement the solutions. Facebook is still developing their own framework for this Canadian version of the Local News Accelerator—a U.S. version called the Local News Subscriptions Accelerator launched last year.
The vast majority of the program’s details are still under wraps according to Facebook Canada. When reached for comment, a spokesperson maintained the fact that Facebook is still working to build relationships with advisors and that they will “continue to listen to and partner with the news community in Canada and look forward to sharing more information in the near future.”
The Local News Subscriptions Accelerator Facebook launched in the U.S. last year was a 12-week intensive pilot that enabled 14 metro newspapers to test digital subscriptions on and off the platform. That program also included workshops and a separate grant-making program led by Facebook and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism. Facebook Canada did not comment if the Canadian Local News Accelerator would follow a similar model but did not rule it out either.