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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 37210

Reported Deaths: 1495
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin12048782
Ramsey4777222
Stearns231219
Dakota224890
Anoka2155107
Nobles16616
Olmsted107615
Washington104840
Mower9322
Rice8277
Scott6844
Clay58037
Kandiyohi5661
Wright4535
Blue Earth4422
Todd4002
Carver3611
Lyon3052
Sherburne3035
Freeborn2890
Steele2231
Watonwan2150
Benton2123
St. Louis17415
Martin1615
Nicollet15512
Cottonwood1340
Goodhue1278
Winona12015
Crow Wing10412
Pine1030
Chisago971
Otter Tail921
Le Sueur911
McLeod850
Carlton830
Dodge830
Unassigned8237
Polk812
Chippewa761
Isanti650
Itasca6412
Waseca620
Douglas610
Meeker591
Morrison591
Becker550
Jackson550
Faribault540
Murray540
Sibley532
Pennington510
Mille Lacs342
Brown312
Pipestone311
Wabasha310
Beltrami290
Rock290
Yellow Medicine290
Renville282
Fillmore270
Houston250
Swift211
Norman200
Wilkin203
Redwood170
Wadena150
Aitkin140
Big Stone140
Cass142
Kanabec141
Koochiching141
Marshall120
Grant100
Lincoln100
Pope100
Roseau100
Clearwater70
Mahnomen71
Lake60
Hubbard50
Traverse50
Lac qui Parle40
Stevens40
Red Lake30
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30173

Reported Deaths: 718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6275178
Woodbury320144
Black Hawk218058
Buena Vista170511
Linn123882
Johnson12318
Dallas122329
Marshall103519
Story7463
Pottawattamie71911
Scott70410
Wapello70230
Crawford6752
Muscatine62444
Dubuque60922
Sioux4610
Tama45829
Wright3771
Louisa36013
Jasper32117
Plymouth3134
Dickinson2592
Warren2581
Washington2349
Hamilton1871
Webster1702
Boone1421
Cerro Gordo1381
Clarke1272
Clay1270
Allamakee1264
Mahaska11517
Shelby1110
Clinton1041
Poweshiek1048
Pocahontas931
Carroll911
Bremer906
Des Moines862
Henry853
Franklin840
Cedar801
Taylor790
Emmet780
Cherokee751
Monona740
Floyd682
Marion680
Hardin650
Guthrie644
Sac630
Benton621
Jefferson580
Osceola580
Jones560
Harrison530
Humboldt531
Butler522
Buchanan511
Iowa510
Lee502
Monroe506
Hancock490
Calhoun482
Delaware481
Lyon400
Madison402
Clayton393
Davis391
Mills360
Palo Alto360
Winneshiek360
Grundy350
Fayette340
Mitchell340
Kossuth330
Lucas304
Greene280
Howard280
Chickasaw270
Jackson270
Union270
Winnebago270
Ida230
Cass210
Appanoose203
Keokuk201
Page200
Van Buren190
Audubon161
Adair150
Ringgold150
Worth150
Decatur110
Montgomery102
Wayne90
Adams80
Fremont70
Unassigned70
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