Facebook testing new feature to host city-specific local news

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Facebook is testing a new feature on its platform, where it will host city-specific local news, events and announcements. 

CNET reported today that the test is currently live for a new section called ”Today In” across six US cities. The feature will be available for users through the bottom-right menu button on Facebook.

The ”Today In” section will be powered by a machine learning software, which will help a team find local content.

The move comes as part of the social network’s Journalism Project announced in January last year which aimed to counter the spread of fake news on its platform and build out local news partnerships. The social media giant, last year, also tested products to connect its users to local news.

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. In his ‘New Year Challenge’ CEO?Mark Zuckerberg said that this year he will focus on dealing with abuse and hate, fake news or interference by nation-states on the platform.

The social network also announced last month that it has started demoting engagement bait posts from the users’ news feed. These will include posts coming both from people as well as pages.

“People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions.

“For example, “LIKE this if you’re an Aries!” 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.”

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