Facebook Testing Local News & Events Section in its App


In an effort to up its signal to noise ratio, Facebook may go local.

Facebook, the social network with more than 2 billion users worldwide, is testing a new section in its app for local news, events and announcements.

The project is a part of the company's Journalism Project initiative, which was launched at the time of presidential elections in 2016, because it was facing inspection for fake news stories being published on the platform before the 2016 election. To make sure that the stories are relevant and authentic, Facebook will only source links from local publishers that have been manually vetted by the News Partnership team first. 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 project is part of Facebook's Journalism Project initiative, which it launched past year following the 2016 presidential election.

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Facebook is cautiously hand-selecting local publishers to feature on this new section of the app that should help keep fake news at bay to a large extent and thus substantially prevent the dissemination of false information to the user base. Users in test markets will be able to access the feature through the bottom-right menu button on Facebook. Donald Trump's surprising victory in United States presidential election was the major cause where tech giants faced a strong backlash from the public on spreading fake news. Eventually, the company hopes to roll it out to more locations and allow users to follow a city they don't reside in.

It's still unknown if Today In will benefit local news publishers, but it's definitely a step towards reviving local journalism.

The company will expand the "Today In" feature in other cities too. These will include posts coming both from people as well as pages.