Facebook is testing local news and events section for local publishers

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January 11, 2018
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The most widely used social network, Facebook is testing a new feature in its platform. Facebook aims to make it easier for people to find local news of their community in a separate section. The new section will be called “Today In”, which will comprise of local news, events, and announcements.

According to a statement by Facebook’s official, the new section of its app will be dedicated to local publishers and organizations and will feature news stories and events from a selected community or a region. For now, the test is running in six cities of the US, while the company is also planning to expand it to more countries after the test completes.

Facebook is using a machine-learning algorithm to filter content in this new section. Local news publishers who will be appearing there will be verified and approved by the company’s News Partnerships team, which is being led by former NBC news anchor Campbell Brown, according to a company spokesperson.

This initiative is the part of Facebook’s Journalism Project, which was launched last year to counter fake news allegations faced by the company. Donald Trump’s surprising victory in US presidential election was the major cause where tech giants faced a strong backlash from the public on spreading fake news.

Facebook has also tested and launched a handful of other news-related features this year as part of the effort, which includes a breaking news label for publishers and a label identifying stories disputed by outside fact-checkers.

It still remains to be seen that whether this section will benefit local publishers or not. It is also possible that being part of a separate, local section of the app will help drive more traffic back to publishers’ stories and websites.

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