Facebook is testing local news and events section for local publishers

Facebook is testing local news and events section for local publishers

This issue has been a hot topic ever since the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been on a personal mission to end "fake news" sharing over his platform since. Now, there seems to be an unlikely saviour - Facebook wants to step in and save local news, as it begins testing "Today In", a feature that pushes local news and information to Facebook users. Local news publishers will be approved by Facebook's News Partnerships team. The initial test markets are New Orleans, Louisiana; Olympia, Washington; Billings, Montana; Binghamton, New York; Peoria, Illinois and Little Rock, Arkansas. Facebook aims to make it easier for people to find local news of their community in a separate section.

The move comes as part of Facebook's Journalism Project announced in January a year ago to curb the spread of fake news on its platform and build out local news partnerships.

The company has tested and launched a handful of other news-related features this year as part of the effort, including a breaking news label for publishers and a label identifying stories disputed by outside fact-checkers.

Commentators point out that the social network's reported foray into local news publishing segment comes at a time when it is looking to fix the problem of misinformation and fake news on its platform.

The Facebook Journalism Project was launched a year ago today, shortly after the United States presidential election, and it has already accomplished quite a lot.

The feature, which can be accessed using the bottom right menu button in the Facebook app (the three horizontal lines), brings together human curation and machine learning to surface content.

But, the question that cuts through is will this section benefit the local publishers, or not?

There's no word yet on when the feature will roll out to all USA cities.

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