Facebook has a new plan to fight the spread of fake news on its platform, and it's a particularly ambitious one. The company announced in a blog post that it wants to "do more to support" local publishers, due to the important role it plays in the spread of modern news.
To accomplish that goal, Facebook is launching the Community News Project, a £4.5 million fund ($6 million) which will support and encourage local journalism in the UK. Specifically, the money will be used to recruit and train a total of 80 prospective journalists, from a "range" socioeconomic backgrounds.
One of Facebook's main partners on the Community News Project – and the party responsible for handling the money – is the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).
"The NCTJ cares deeply about the number, quality and diversity of journalists working in our local communities," said NCTJ executive Joanne Butcher. "We are very proud to support the sustainability of quality local journalism by overseeing the recruitment of additional local news journalists from diverse and inclusive backgrounds and by ensuring they are properly trained and qualified."
"The NCTJ cares deeply about the number, quality and diversity of journalists working in our local communities..."
The NCTJ will use the money to train fledgling journalists to receive their NCTJ Diploma in Journalism, while training more seasoned journalists to acquire the National Qualification in Journalism.
It's certainly nice to see Facebook support quality journalism in such a concrete manner, but it's tough to say how effective this initiative will be. Hundreds, if not thousands, of stories are being shared on the platform at any given time.
As such, training roughly 80 reporters will likely not be enough to significantly improve the accuracy of the information spread on Facebook.