In yet another effort to make it easier for its 2.07 billion users, Facebook is testing a city specific news section which will bring local news, announcements and events.
Called ‘Today In’, the test is currently being trialled in six cities including New Orleans, La.; Little Rock, Ark.; Billings, Mont.; Peoria, Ill.; Olympia, Wash.; and Binghamton, N.Y. Users residing in these areas will be able to access the new section via bottom-right menu button to browse local information or emergency updates from local authorities.
This move is a part of Facebook’s Journalism Project Initiative – a programme announced by the company back in January 2017 that aims to strengthen local news partnerships.
According to a Facebook spokesperson, the company will use a machine-learning software to make information pop up in the new section, and local news publishers who will surface in the ‘Today In’ section will be authenticated by Facebook’s News Partnerships team, which is overseen by former NBC news anchor Campbell Brown.
‘We believe creating a dedicated section on the app might help Facebook drive more traffic back to publishers’ stories and websites, and finally generate more revenue,’ said the company.
Last year in November, Facebook retitled its specific events app as ‘Facebook Local’ that shows users where to find restaurants and nearby events. The company further added that Facebook Local app is completely separate from the ‘Today In’ news section.
To refresh the look and feel of News Feed, Facebook, in August, has increased colour contrast so that typography is more legible and has also included larger link previews. Icons and Like, Comment and Share buttons have been updated and are now larger and easier to tap. Circular profile pictures have been added to show who’s posting or commenting.