Facebook Testing Local News & Events Section in its App

Facebook Inc (FB) Gets Deeper Into Local News, Events With New

Facebook is testing local news and events section for local publishers

Facebook announced Wednesday that it's releasing a new tool aimed at making it easier to find legitimate local news stories. The initial test markets are New Orleans, Louisiana; Olympia, Washington; Billings, Montana; Binghamton, New York; Peoria, Illinois and Little Rock, Arkansas.

Content creation in this section is attributed to machine learning software used by Facebook. This is all supposedly part of Facebook's Journalism Project initiative that was launched by the social media following last year's U.S. Presidential election.

All of this plays into the company's broader efforts to cleanse the service of false information; hand-selecting local publishers to appear inside this new section of the app should (theoretically) help keep fake news to a minimum.

On the flipside, the report notes that while users may appreciate the local aspect of "Today In", Facebook could have trouble attracting advertisers to feeds that are smaller and less diverse in nature. Nevertheless, Facebook's new Journalism Project initiative and the new section does away with the pointing fingers. 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.

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One will be able to see news in the "Today In" tab by clicking on the ☰ button on the bottom right corner of the app.

There's no word yet on when the feature will roll out to all US cities.

While this is far from Facebook's first foray into trying to make the Facebook experience more locally focused, the tiny batch of city-specific rollouts and at least sort of hands-on curation efforts suggest that Facebook is trying to move cautiously.

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