Facebook has been the center of controversy in recent months after the social media company failed to combat the spread of false information during the 2016 United States Presidential Election.
However, a new journalism scholarship offered by Facebook shows the company’s commitment to preserving the free press. The scholarship, which will be available for the 2018-2019 school year, is aimed at providing funding to journalism students through four organizations: National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association and National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
Each organization with receive $250,000, and each recipient will receive around $10,000. Applicant must be enrolled juniors, seniors or graduate students at an accredited university.
Facebook, which is the most popular social network with over one billion daily active users, has recently been coming to terms with how its platform can be used to spread propaganda.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the company is constantly looking at and refining its algorithm to help combat the spread of false information. However, in a hearing with the United States Congress, Facebook said it does not consider itself a media organization, but rather a hub for information.
In recent months we have seen Facebook work with the likes of Snopes and Politfacts to fact-check news sources. In the past three months, the company has made changes to its algorithm in an attempt to alleviate clickbait posts for engagement.
With this new scholarship aimed at funding journalism students, it’s clear the social media giant is not only committed to helping combat fake news but also fund the future journalist of the world. For a company that does not consider itself a media organization, Facebook has always been supportive of the press, its philosophy of accountability for political leaders, and the First Amendment.