Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Facebook begins testing local news app

Facebook Inc (FB) Gets Deeper Into Local News, Events With New Facebook is testing local news and events section for local publishers
Sherri Watson | 11 January, 2018, 21:15

Facebook's news partnership team will check the relevance of the news that goes on the feed.

In an attempt to further address its "fake news" problem and make the platform a better place for people to find local stories, Facebook is testing a new section in its app called "Today In".

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.

CNET reported today that the test is now live for a new section called "Today In" across six United States cities.

Facebook is using machine-learning software to surface content in this new section.

The project is part of Facebook's Journalism Project initiative, which it launched previous year following the 2016 presidential election. 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. Nevertheless, Facebook's new Journalism Project initiative and the new section does away with the pointing fingers.

The company is now testing the feature in 6 states of the US.

But, the question that cuts through is will this section benefit the local publishers, or not? 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. News that is specific to the related communities and cities will be given in the user's feed. This section is being tested in five cities of America however the company plans to launch it globally once its gets approved in its test phase.

Eventually, Facebook wants to roll this out to more cities.