The Silicon Review
30 January, 2018
Facebook’s chief executive said on Monday that the social media giant will be focusing on promoting local news in a fresh update to its News Feed algorithm in the coming days.
Facebook announced in its blog post that, along with its efforts to elevate content from friends and outlets designated as “high quality,” the site will also be working to push local news offerings to the top of users’ feeds.
"Starting today, we're going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city," Mr Zuckerberg said in his post.
“If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed,” he wrote.
The update will be initially applied in the United States before it is applied everywhere, BBC reported.
Mr Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder, said that Facebook users who are made aware of what is happening in their communities are more likely to get involved and "make a difference".
"Research suggests that reading local news is directly correlated with civic engagement," he said.
The changes were part of the company's drive to show more "high quality, trusted news", he added
“This update may not capture all small or niche-interest publishers at first, but we are working to improve precision and coverage over time,” the company wrote. “All of our work to reduce false news, misinformation, clickbait, sensationalism and inauthentic accounts still applies.”
The social media giant is making a series of changes to its website and app following criticism over the appearance of misleading news and misinformation in the app’s users’ feeds.
That last bit also comes as a sort of consolation to publishers, who are concerned as to how their own social reach will be impacted by such big changes made to Facebook’s newsfeed. Google, meanwhile, has been testing its own take on local news recently, with the addition of the Bulletin app, an effort to crowdsource local news reporting.
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