Facebook will award community leaders $10m to encourage 'meaningful' interactions

Facebook is setting aside a $10m fund to reward users who "bring people closer together" on its platforms.

The social network announced that it will award five "community leaders" from around the world with $1m to finance their ideas for projects.

And it will invite 100 people to be part of a fellowship programme that includes training, mentorship and up to $50,000 for a specific initiative.

"Our goal is to find people who are using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger to bring people closer together," said Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in a blog post.

"This program is about finding and supporting great community leaders wherever they are. It's not just about helping people come together online. A lot of online communities strengthen physical communities by holding get-togethers, organising events, and supporting each other in their daily lives, even across long distances."

Zuckerberg's post gave examples of "the pastor of a church, the coach of a little league team, or the neighbour who's always there if you need something" as the kinds of community-minded individuals Facebook hopes to find.

The emphasis on community comes as Facebook rewires its news feed to put greater emphasis on friends and family posts over publishers' content.