Facebook Testing Local News & Events Section in its App

Facebook Testing Local News & Events Section in its App

Facebook was facing scrutiny at the time for its role in hoax news stories being disseminated across its platform ahead of the 2016 election.

In an effort to up its signal to noise ratio, Facebook may go local. "The move comes as part of Facebook's Journalism Project Initiative, a program the company announced in January 2017 that seeks to build out local news partnerships, among other goals", the reports says.

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

A machine learning (ML) software will power the "Today In" section, helping a team find local content.

The company says this is all part of Facebook's Journalism Project initiative, which Facebook launched shortly after last year's US presidential election in which so-called fake news spread on the service, leading many to point to Facebook as part of the reason for Donald Trump's surprising victory.

This features is launched after the company has faced fake news issue. Nevertheless, Facebook's new Journalism Project initiative and the new section does away with the pointing fingers.

Recode notes that Facebook intends to expand "Today In" to other cities as it tests the feature out. Possibilities indicate that being part of a distinct, local section of the app might help draw more traffic back to publishers' own news pieces and websites where being advertised on Facebook by featuring on the app will add to their revenues, but the section by itself won't help them make money. 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. The benefit of advertising, gained through Facebook will further depend on the number of users who frequently use the new section.

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