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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook will announce on Tuesday two new efforts to help support newsrooms and fact-checkers in efforts to promote quality information about the coronavirus.

By the numbers: Facebook will donate $1 million to local newsrooms to help them cover the crisis and $1 million to fact-checkers' efforts reviewing news coverage for virus misinformation.

Why it matters: The tech giant is trying to be proactive in how it supports the news media in times of crisis. The company has pledged over $300 million to date towards news projects over the course of three years.

Details: The Facebook Journalism Project is partnering with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Local Media Association (LMA) to offer a total of $1 million in grants to local news outlets covering the coronavirus in North America.

  • The grants will help newsrooms cover unexpected costs associated with coronavirus reporting, such as tools to help local journalists work remotely and increases in coverage to inform communities about the virus' local spread.
  • The grants are small, up to just $5,000 each, but are meant to serve as short-term relief to understaffed and under-equipped newsrooms. They come from a pool within Facebook's Journalism Project called its Community Network that gives out grants of up to $25,000 to local newsrooms 3 times per year.

Facebook is also launching a $1 million grant program to support fact-checkers during the coronavirus crisis in conjunction with Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN). (Facebook already partners with fact-checkers certified by IFCN to do fact-checking.)

  • The grant will help fact-checkers increase their capacity during the coronavirus crisis and will help pay for the translation of fact checks from native languages to different languages. It will also help fact-checkers find better ways to communicate their findings to the public and work with public and health care authorities. 
  • “The fact-checking community has been working very hard, day and night, since January to point out falsehoods about the new coronavirus. Social media platforms have a responsibility to combat this type of misinformation, it is great to see that Facebook is willing to support the CoronaVirusFacts Alliance," said Cristina Tardáguila, the IFCN's Associate Director and the coordinator of the COVID-19 collaborative project, in a statement.

The bottom line: “Covering coronavirus at the local level is a struggle for many small-to mid-size publishers who are already resource-challenged,” said Nancy Lane, CEO of the Local Media Association. “These grants will go a long way to help them provide vital information to their communities."

Go deeper: Facebook steps up effort to fight coronavirus misinformation

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
40 mins ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.

1 hour ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.

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