As reported by a company spokesperson, the Company's News Partnerships team which is directed by former NBC News Anchor Campbell Brown is entrusted with the responsibility of approving and vetting the local news publishers featuring on Facebook. Facebook was facing scrutiny at the time for its role in hoax news stories being disseminated across its platform ahead of the 2016 election.
As Facebook continues its efforts to squeeze in more information in the user timeline, the platform is reportedly testing a new feature that would show users local news and events judging by their location. Billings, Mont.; Peoria, Ill.; Olympia, Wash.; and Binghamton, N.Y. will now have access to a new section, called "Today In [city name]".
Facebook is using a machine-learning algorithm to filter content in this new section.
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The project is part of Facebook's Journalism Project initiative, which it launched past year following the 2016 presidential election. Facebook plans to alert people in the six test cities that the new feature exists, but after that, "Today In" will appear in the menu (☰) where Facebook has dozens of other lesser-used sections of the app that you might easily forget about.
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. Donald Trump's surprising victory in USA presidential election was the major cause where tech giants faced a strong backlash from the public on spreading fake news. 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. The benefit of advertising, gained through Facebook will further depend on the number of users who frequently use the new section.