Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Facebook Pushes Local News To Combat Low-Quality Content

Facebook Pushes Local News To Combat Low-Quality Content Facebook Pushes Local News To Combat Low-Quality Content
Theresa Hayes | 30 January, 2018, 01:47

"Starting today, we're going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city", Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post on Monday. The company has begun testing out the new section in six United States cities and plans to make it available in more locales.

Essentially, Facebook is saying that it wants to deal with hard issues by ignoring them entirely, and turning its entire news output into those five-minute feel-good segments at the end of the local news broadcasts where everyone pulls together to fix a new park bench.

I remember when Facebook's attraction was that it had a better interface than Orkut (remember that?), and allowed users to easily chat with friends, "poke" them, and even have fun side conversations privately.

"Local news helps build community-both on and offline".

As we announced earlier this month, we expect the amount of news in News Feed to go down as we focus on meaningful social interactions with family and friends over passive consumption.

But while they are likely to cheer the news, local publishers should manage their expectations: they are still competing for a shrinking number of clicks.

How to get fact-based news to Facebook's billions of users is a problem without an easy answer, though Zuckerberg started out the new year by announcing that he was committing himself to looking for a solution. In effect, two of the tech companies most often criticized for undermining the business model of news publishers are now looking to shore it up. Not only will large local publishers benefit, but small niche outlets that cover sports, arts, and human-interest stories will too. 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. All of our work to reduce false news, misinformation, clickbait, sensationalism and inauthentic accounts still applies. Local news publishers participated in the majority of our collaborative product tests in 2017, including support for subscriptions in Instant Articles; call-to-action units, which are prompts for readers to like a publisher's page or sign up for an email newsletter; and a new breaking news format in News Feed. The update will first be rolled out in the USA, with the aim of expanding it to other countries later in the year.