Facebook attempts to address fake news by nurturing digital startups in Canada

The Facebook Journalism Project recently announced that it is partnering with the DMZ university incubator and the Ryerson School of Journalism to advance innovation in journalism. They are launching the Digital News Innovation Challenge, which will provide five startups with $100,000 in non-dilutive seed funding. The announcement highlights it is

A Canada-wide program supporting leading digital news ideas and early-stage tech companies driving innovation for journalism and news organizations. Access up to $100,000 in non-dilutive seed capital for your startup.

The five-month program will also provide startups with $50,000 in Facebook marketing budget broken up into increments. The goal is to support startups solving a problem in the Canadian digital news and journalism landscape with space in the DMZ’s Sandbox, access to growth mentors, and workshops designed by Canadian digital news experts.

Kevin Chan, head of public policy at Facebook Canada said in a statement

“Quality journalism delivers facts and ideas that help us better understand society, and each other. The Facebook community values sharing and discussing ideas and news, which is why it is critical for us to partner with leading organizations like the DMZ and Ryerson School of Journalism to support the Canadian news ecosystem and help these startups succeed.”

The move comes amid controversy over fake news, in which Facebook played an unwitting role, by permitting providers of false news and sensational headlines to cash in on the gullibility of the public to steer political opinions.

The DMZ, based at Ryerson University in Canada encourages startups with an innovative business idea to apply to the program. Applications open January 25, 2018.

DMZ also addresses some of the Frequently asked questions about the program including

Can I apply if I’m not from Canada?

You must be a legal resident of Canada living in close enough proximity to the DMZ to take advantage of everything it has to offer. If you are not a legal resident in Canada, you may be interested in the Startup Visa program offered through Ryerson Futures Inc. (RFI), an accelerator and seed fund program associated with Ryerson University and the DMZ.

How is the DMZ funded?

The DMZ, as part of Ryerson University, is a not-for-profit organization. We receive funding from Ryerson University, government grants and corporate partnerships. Revenue also comes in through membership and facility rental fees.


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