It’s been a busy month for Facebook. The social network has modified its News Feed to prioritize posts from friends and family and has put a greater emphasis on delivering content from high-quality news sources. Now, it’s turning its attention to local news.
Facebook on Monday said its News Feed is being updated once again, this time to prioritize local news stories so you can see topics that have a direct impact on you and your community.
Alex Hardiman, Head of News Product and Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships, said Facebook identifies local publishers as those whose links are clicked on by readers in a tight geographic area. If a story is from an outlet in your area and you either follow the publisher’s Page or one of your friends shares a story from that publisher, it might surface higher on your feed.
The social networking giant says there are no constraints regarding which publishers are eligible for the new signal meaning large and small outfits alike will benefit. That said, small outlets will likely benefit the most because they tend to have a readership that is concentrated in one location.
Google last week launched Bulletin, an app designed to facilitate the sharing of hyperlocal news stories.
The emphasis on local stories will first take effect in the US before expanding to additional countries later this year. Facebook notes the change may not capture all small or niche-interest publishers at first but they’ll work to improve on the feature’s coverage and precision over time.
Word surfaced earlier this month that Facebook was testing a dedicated section called Today In across six US cities that connects people to news and information in their community. That feature was mentioned in today’s announcement and will be expanded to other cities in the coming months, we’re told.