Mark Zuckerberg believes local news will help combat fake news and hate speech on Facebook. Image: Compfight

Facebook has announced their new step in their race to become a respected aggregator. The company intends to lower down its guard and step away from national outlets that tend to be considered as politicized and divisive, and instead focus on pushing the local news to the top of the users’ News Feed.

The change will make users click on news determined by a tight geographic region, as well as information based in the area. The regular content on the platform will be featured based on the type of shares, likes and follows in the user’s profile.

Mark Zuckerberg credited the idea for the social network’s change to his recent fact-finding trip around the U.S, in which people’s opinions fueled the new feature. He later expressed his inspiration on his own Facebook page.

“Many people told me they thought that if we could turn down the temperature on the more divisive issues and instead focus on concrete local issues, then we’d all make more progress together.Local news helps build community — both on and offline. It’s an important part of making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is valuable.”

Local news feeds could make it to Facebook worldwide

The company admitted that the coverage of every individual community may be a hard task to accomplish, so they publicly stated that it is a “work in progress.” Facebook’s news feeds may ultimately polarize sources and divide them if there is no broader national coverage.

The local news feed will begin in the United States, and once the new feature proves to be effective for both publishers and Facebook, the plan would be to expand to different countries. This could prove useful for small business publishers or community reports.

“This update may not capture all small or niche-interest publishers at first, but we are working to improve precision and coverage over time,” the company writes in the post. “All of our work to reduce false news, misinformation, clickbait, sensationalism and inauthentic accounts still applies.”

“If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed. We’re starting this first in the US, and our goal is to expand to more countries this year.”

Facebook is still fighting against fake news

Facebook has been the subject of much criticism and complaints regarding the disinformation and hoaxes read on the platform, which may be the reason for the new actions and strategies. In order to counter the regular “trustworthy” subject on the information shared on the social network.

This new feature seeks to boost the local news, which has suffered greatly due to advertising dollars moving to online platforms such as Facebook and Google. Explaining and putting this new features as a redemptive act from the company.

Source: Facebook

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