Tech giant Facebook has announced another change in its News Feed. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook will prioritise local news. The new update in the News Feed is only effective in the US at the moment and will eventually roll out to other geographies in due time. This comes quite close on the heels of an earlier announcement by Facebook, which prioritised what friends and family share, reducing the amount of publisher content appearing in your feed.
Zuckerberg, in a post on his profile, mentioned that Facebook will make a series of updates to show more high quality, trusted news. The new update will prioritise news from local sources. If you follow a local news or if someone shares a local news, it may show higher in the rankings as compared to other stories. The new change is expected to positively affect the local news publishers including niche topics like local sports, arts and human-interest stories will get benefit from the change.
"People consistently tell us they want to see more local news on Facebook. 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," said Zuckerberg.
An infographic, explaining how the local news on Facebook works, shows that the social media platform first decides whether a domain is local for you, then checks whether it's a news source and includes local news such as local sports or neighbourhood blog. If both the conditions are matched, it is recognised as a local publisher and is prioritised over other stories on the News Feed of the users of the geographical area.
The CEO also added "Local news helps build community — both on and offline. It's an important part of making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is valuable. I'm looking forward to sharing more updates soon."
In another post, Alex Hardiman, head of News Product and Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships mentioned that Facebook will identify local publishers whose links are clicked in a tight geographical area and if you follow the publishers or one of your friends shared one of its stories, it will be highly prioritised in your feed.
The post by Hardiman and Brown also mentioned about their test for subscription in Instant Articles, call-to-action units which prompts the user to follow the news publishers by liking their page or signing up for subscriptions.
As reported earlier Facebook is also testing a dedicated section that connects people to news and information in their community called 'Today In'. The new feature is being tested in six US cities and the company is planning to expand to other cities in coming months.