Over the course of the past year, Facebook has made an effort to curtail the influence of fake and misleading news stories on its platform. Most of its efforts have focused on limiting the ability of fake news stories to go viral or providing a means to easily fact-check a story. However, Facebook’s most recent effort is taking a more indirect approach by offering scholarships to students seeking to pursue careers in journalism.
The company is partnering with multiple organizations in order to help provide students from diverse backgrounds with the opportunity to pursue a career in journalism, communications or digital media. The eligible organizations include the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association and National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
Each of the four organizations will receive grants of $250,000 and will be able to award $50,000 over five years. In addition, five scholarships of $10,000 will be given to applicants each year.
In order to be eligible for these scholarships, the students must be enrolled as juniors, seniors, or graduate students in accredited U.S. universities. Of course, those students must be pursuing degrees in journalism, digital media, or communications. Additionally, applicants will need to submit proof of coursework, a letter of recommendation, and clips or writing samples that demonstrate their commitment to the field of journalism.
This move is just the latest in Facebook’s recent efforts to address its influence on the field of journalism. Along with Google, the site accounts for one of the web’s largest sources of ad revenue and many sites use Facebook to reach or expand their audience. Facebook’s influence came to head during the aftermath of the 2016 election, as many accused the platform of being a haven for fake news and propaganda.
Facebook has rolled out many efforts to address this problem. One of its first attempts was partnering with fact-checking organizations such as Snopes and PolitiFact to check the accuracy of disputed news stories. However, it has recently pivoted away from this move to more user-driven approach. The company has also worked to improve its algorithms to make it harder for clickbait to thrive on the platform.
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