Facebook is testing local news and events section for local publishers

Facebook testing local news section on its platform

Facebook testing local news section on its platform

The project is a part of the company's Journalism Project initiative, which was launched at the time of presidential elections in 2016, because it was facing inspection for fake news stories being published on the platform before the 2016 election.

For its new local hub, Facebook is starting with a small batch of test markets. The new section will be called "Today In", which will comprise of local news, events, and announcements.

Content creation in this section is attributed to machine learning software used by Facebook.

The company says this is all part of Facebook's Journalism Project initiative, which Facebook launched shortly after last year's USA 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.

One will be able to see news in the "Today In" tab by clicking on the ☰ button on the bottom right corner of the app. "This tactic, known as "engagement bait", seeks to take advantage of our News Feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach", explained Henry Silverman, operations integrity specialist at Facebook". Donald Trump's surprising victory in U.S. presidential election was the major cause where tech giants faced a strong backlash from the public on spreading fake news. Eventually, the company hopes to roll it out to more locations and allow users to follow a city they don't reside in. It is also possible that being part of a separate, local section of the app will help drive more traffic back to publishers' stories and websites.

The social networking firm wants to expand this app to more cities and then other countries gradually. The benefit of advertising, gained through Facebook will further depend on the number of users who frequently use the new section.

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