Is Facebook a friend to local journalism?

Zuckerberg graphic Image copyright Getty Images/BBC

Facebook, often seen as one of the factors behind the decline of local newspapers, has unveiled a scheme to train reporters to work in local communities across the UK.

The social media giant is giving £4.5m ($5.7m) to local newspaper groups, which will hire around 80 people to spend two years training to be community reporters.

The scheme, to be administered by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, is designed, in Facebook's words, "to encourage more reporting from towns which have lost their local newspaper and beat reporters".

Now cynics might suggest that part of the reason those reporters have gone is that Facebook has run off with a large slice of the local advertising revenues, which used to support those jobs.

After all, the company reported UK revenues of £1.27bn last year, while Britain's largest local newspaper group Johnston Press earned only £100m from advertising - and has had to be rescued from collapse as its debts threatened to sink it.

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Tech Tent: Has Facebook reached peak crisis?

Protesters Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Facebook has been criticised by privacy campaigners

Two of the biggest names in tech are facing serious questions about their ethics. Facebook stands accused of dirty tactics to smear opponents, Google of breaking promises on data.

On Tech Tent we look at a difficult week for the reputation of Silicon Valley.

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Facebook leaks take their toll

Leaky Facebook Image copyright Getty Images/BBC

We knew that Facebook's handling of its recent crises had been inept - Mark Zuckerberg's description of the idea that fake news put Donald Trump in the White House as "crazy" was a prime example.

But now the New York Times has painted a startling picture not just of negligence and mismanagement by Facebook's leaders but of deeply questionable tactics as they fought to protect the image of their company.

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Fake news: Can teenagers spot it?

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Media captionWATCH: Can these teens spot fake news?

Fake news, misinformation, clickbait - whatever you choose to call it, it is one of the scourges of our times.

If we are to make it less of a threat to democracy, that effort is going to need to start in schools.

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Tech Tent: The taxi wars

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Image caption Where to, mate?

Who is going to decide how we travel around our cities - Californian tech giants or local transport businesses?

On Tech Tent we hear from the UK firm helping local taxi operators take the fight to Uber and from an American scooter firm trying to change the law in Britain.

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Scooter firm Bird pushes for law change with London trial

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Media captionWATCH: Electric scooter rental firm Bird is launching a limited service in London

The Californian electric scooter business Bird is launching a pilot service on London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

It is illegal to ride powered scooters on public roads or pavements in the UK but Bird hopes to get the law changed within 12 months.

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Tech Tent: Is Twitter besieged by bots?

Rory inside the Twitter logo

How should we see Twitter? An essential communications tool? A noisy but enlightening platform for democratic debate? Or a haven for hate speech often driven by armies of bots designed to inject poison into every conversation?

In this week's Tech Tent podcast, we examine how the social media firm is facing accusations that it is failing to police its platform properly.

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Is Facebook's News Feed fading?

Facebook News Feed Image copyright Facebook/Reuters

When anything changes in the way the world's most powerful social media firm works, that can have huge consequences for its users and the businesses that feed off them.

And now Mark Zuckerberg has signalled a major shift in how Facebook's huge global audience uses the service.

Read full article Is Facebook's News Feed fading?

Budget 2018: Who will pay the Digital Services Tax?

Chancellor Philip Hammond on phone Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The chancellor: searching online for revenues

It was one of the more surprising features of the Budget, a Digital Services Tax designed to make tech giants earning vast revenues in the UK pay their fair share.

Now comes the difficult part - working out how the tax will be designed and who will pay it.

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Tech Tent: Tim Cook’s privacy crusade

Tim Cook Image copyright Getty Images

It's not unusual for the technology industry to be accused of playing fast and loose with user privacy, collecting data on a vast scale and needing to be reined in by new laws.

What is startling is when that accusation comes from the leader of the world's most valuable technology company.

Read full article Tech Tent: Tim Cook’s privacy crusade