Facebook has been facing a storm of bad publicity lately. Concerns over the company's handling of user data cropped up once more when it was revealed that Facebook may have been sharing their users' private messages with third parties, such as Netflix and Spotify.
To make matters worse, a December bug let apps access "millions" of unauthorized Facebook photos; regardless of user privacy settings.
Facebook is hoping to counter some of this negative PR with an act of goodwill. According to a blog post published by the company today, it will be investing a whopping $300 million into local news, in the hopes that a cash injection will promote quality reporting and help the industry fight fake news.
Most importantly, the cash could help to keep local news alive. In the age of web-based news, such outlets are having a much harder time staying afloat; particularly if they rely on print for the majority of their revenue.
Facebook's $300 million will be spread across a wide variety of local news-oriented projects and organizations, including the Pulitzer Center, Report for America, the American Journalism Project, and others.
This isn't the first time Facebook has tried to give local newsrooms a boost. In November, the company launched a similar (but significantly smaller) £4.5 million fund to support local UK journalists. The money, which was managed by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, was used to recruit and train roughly 80 would-be reporters.
It remains to be seen whether or not this cash injection will improve Facebook's public image much, but at this point, it certainly can't hurt.