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Facebook to promote more local news stories

The news you see on Facebook may soon hit closer to home.Facebook announced Monday it is beginning to prioriti...

Posted: Jan 30, 2018 8:53 AM
Updated: Jan 30, 2018 8:53 AM

The news you see on Facebook may soon hit closer to home.

Facebook announced Monday it is beginning to prioritize local news stories in News Feed. It's part of an ongoing campaign to prove the social network can have a positive impact on users and society.

The change initially applies to U.S. users only, with plans for additional countries later in the year.

"Starting today, we're going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city," Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO and cofounder, wrote in a post announcing the change. "If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed."

The announcement marks the third big change to News Feed this month emphasizing quality over quantity for news. Facebook previously said it would show more content from friends and less from publishers. It's also looking to prioritize news from sources that users deem "trustworthy."

Facebook is trying to recover from a bruising year of criticism about its platform enabling fake news, foreign election meddling and filter bubbles. Zuckerberg has said his personal goal for 2018 is "fixing" Facebook's many problems.

Related: Facebook to show more content from friends, less from publishers and brands

The latest tweak is said to be inspired by Zuckerberg's listening tour of the country last year in the wake of the 2016 election.

"Many people told me they thought that if we could turn down the temperature on the more divisive [national] issues and instead focus on concrete local issues, then we'd all make more progress together," Zuckerberg said.

Facebook isn't necessarily defining local news by the size of the publication, but rather by the concentration of readers of that publication in a certain area, according to a company blog post.

"Large local publishers will benefit, as well as publishers that focus on niche topics like local sports, arts and human-interest stories," according to Facebook's explanation. "That said, small news outlets may benefit from this change more than other outlets, because they tend to have a concentrated readership in one location."

The social network has also been testing a new section dedicated to local news and events. The section, called Today In, is currently available in six U.S. cities.

Last week, Google began testing a platform for crowdsourced, hyperlocal news. In effect, two of the tech companies most often criticized for undermining the business model of news publishers are now looking to shore it up.

Facebook and Google gobbled up more than 60% of digital ad spending in 2017, according to research firm eMarketer, making it that much harder for big and small online publishers to compete.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15752

Reported Deaths: 739
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds100625
Lauderdale73862
Madison72423
Scott65012
Neshoba64639
Jones62928
Forrest56438
DeSoto5427
Rankin4398
Holmes42928
Leake42712
Copiah3124
Jackson30813
Attala29817
Yazoo2814
Newton2714
Leflore26431
Lincoln26329
Harrison2587
Monroe25725
Oktibbeha23912
Lamar2385
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Wayne2041
Pike20311
Adams19915
Noxubee1866
Washington1787
Warren17310
Covington1652
Jasper1634
Bolivar16211
Lee1536
Smith15211
Kemper14411
Clarke14418
Lafayette1364
Chickasaw13512
Coahoma1254
Carroll11711
Winston1171
Marion1159
Clay1124
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Tate941
Grenada943
Yalobusha935
Hancock9111
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Montgomery851
Sunflower843
Union835
Marshall833
Jefferson Davis773
Tippah7311
Panola713
Webster692
Calhoun654
Amite641
Humphreys607
Walthall560
Tunica553
Prentiss533
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Pontotoc353
Quitman330
Tishomingo320
Stone300
Franklin292
Tallahatchie271
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene131
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18075

Reported Deaths: 644
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2239116
Jefferson1837102
Montgomery171040
Tuscaloosa78315
Marshall6939
Franklin5567
Lee54833
Shelby51720
Tallapoosa42765
Butler41118
Chambers35525
Walker3542
Elmore3548
Madison3394
Baldwin2909
Morgan2801
Dallas2723
Etowah25711
DeKalb2483
Lowndes24612
Coffee2361
Sumter2247
Autauga2214
Houston2204
Bullock2095
Pike2030
Colbert1842
Hale1739
Russell1710
Marengo1706
Barbour1671
Lauderdale1642
Calhoun1603
Choctaw1538
Wilcox1487
Clarke1442
Cullman1430
Randolph1277
St. Clair1231
Marion12211
Pickens1164
Dale1150
Talladega1135
Limestone1060
Chilton1011
Greene944
Winston900
Macon824
Henry802
Covington801
Jackson782
Crenshaw753
Bibb751
Washington706
Escambia633
Blount621
Lawrence500
Geneva430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Monroe402
Perry390
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Unassigned00
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