Facebook testing out ways of engaging with local news

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  • Facebook is testing a new section dedicated to local news and events called “Today In”.

    The company is testing the feature initially in six cities – New Orleans, Louisiana; Little Rock, Arkansas; Billings, Montana; Peroria, Illinois; Olympia, Washington; and Binghamton, New York.

    It will feature stories from local publishers, which will be approved by Facebook’s News Partnerships team, as well as emergency updates and local events.

    Facebook will utilise machine-learning software to surface content in this new section.

    Local news publishers will have to be approved and vetted by Facebook’s News Partnerships team before being able to utilise this feature, however, which is overseen by former NBC news anchor Campbell Brown.

    The announcement comes as part of Facebook’s Journalism Project Initiative, a programme announced by the company in January 2017 that aims to build out local news partnerships, among other ways to tackle the spread of ‘fake news’.

    Other features the company has released to tackle the spread fake news include a breaking news label for publishers and a label identifying stories disputed by outside fact-checkers.

    It has not been announced when this feature is expected to launch in other areas.

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