Facebook has announced that content from local publishers will be prioritized in users newsfeeds in an attempt to emphasize what they consider high-quality news, while also attempting to “build community.”
Facebook has revealed in an announcement that the company will begin prioritizing content from local publishers in users’ newsfeeds as part of the companies efforts to increase the level of “high-quality news,” on their platform. “Today, we’re updating News Feed to also prioritize local news so that you can see topics that have a direct impact on you and your community and discover what’s happening in your local area,” reads a Facebook blog post.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also commented on the update in a status update, “We’re making a series of updates to show more high quality, trusted news. Last week we made an update to show more news from sources that are broadly trusted across our community. Today our next update is to promote news from local sources,” writes Zuckerberg. He continued to say, “Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives. Research suggests that reading local news is directly correlated with civic engagement. People who know what’s happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference.”
Facebook directly addressed how this will affect publishers on their platform saying, There are no constraints on which publishers are eligible, which means large local publishers will benefit, as well as publishers that focus on niche topics like local sports, arts and human-interest stories. That said, small news outlets may benefit from this change more than other outlets, because they tend to have a concentrated readership in one location.”
The company also announced that they would be testing a new section of their app called “Today In” across six cities, “In addition to prioritizing local news, we are also testing a dedicated section on Facebook that connects people to news and information in their community, called Today In. We are testing this in six US cities and plan to expand in the coming months.” The new section provides local information and news based on the user’s location.
These changes come shortly after Facebook announced that they would be ranking “trusted sources” of news based on user surveys. Shortly after Facebook announced major changes to their newsfeed, which would prioritize posts from users’ friends and family above publications and advertisers, the company announced plans to rank news outlets by level of trust.
Breitbart Tech’s Allum Bokhari has written about how these changes actually take power away from Facebook’s users.