Saturday, 21 April, 2018

Facebook is testing a new section to emphasize local news

MarkZuckerberg2016 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg AP
Velma Reese | 11 January, 2018, 18:14

For its new local hub, Facebook is starting with a small batch of test markets. It's part of Facebook's Journalism Project Initiative, which includes creating local news partnerships as one of its objectives. In this section, users see recent news from local outlets, as well as local groups, opportunities to "get closer to your community", and events.

In an effort to up its signal to noise ratio, Facebook may go local. From what has been revealed, Facebook is now conducting the test in a handful of cities around the United States - New Orleans, Louisiana; Olympia, Washington; Billings, Montana; Binghamton, New York; Peoria, Illinois and Little Rock, Arkansas.

The company says this is all part of Facebook's Journalism Project initiative, which Facebook launched shortly after last year's USA presidential election in which so-called fake news spread on the service, leading many to point to Facebook as part of the reason for Donald Trump's surprising victory. It's possible that being part of a separate, local section of the app will help drive more traffic back to publishers' stories and websites where they can make money through advertising, but there is no way for publishers to make money off the new local section at launch.

Meghan Markle has deleted all of her social media accounts
Meghan is ushering in a new, more relaxed royal protocol (it helps that she's technically marrying the "spare"). Markle curbed her posting the moment news broke that she and Harry were dating in November 2016.

The Facebook Journalism Project was launched a year ago today, shortly after the U.S. presidential election, and it has already accomplished quite a lot. The company plans to add the service to more cities, and let people choose to follow local news from other areas. This More tab is filled with many of Facebook's forgotten features and "Today In" would benefit from being placed front and centre, making the platform more local-centric.

The feature, which can be accessed using the bottom right menu button in the Facebook app (the three horizontal lines), brings together human curation and machine learning to surface content.

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