Earlier, Facebook had announced changes to prioritise posts from friends and high-quality news sources, and now it has updated News Feed to prioritise local news, allowing you to see topics that have a direct impact on you and your community and discover what’s happening in your local area.
In a Facebook post, the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighted that he wants to improve the user experience on the platform so that people feel more connected. ‘People consistently tell us they want to see more local news on Facebook. Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives. Research suggests that reading local news is directly correlated with civic engagement. People who know what's happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference,’ Zuckerberg added.
What this means for daily users is that if they follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed. Facebook identifies local publishers as those whose links are clicked on by readers in a tight geographic area.
There are no constraints on which publishers are eligible, which means a large number of local publishers as well as those that focus on niche topics like local sports, arts and human-interest stories will benefit. 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.
‘This update may not capture all small or niche-interest publishers at first, but we are working to improve precision and coverage over time. All of our work to reduce false news, misinformation, clickbait, sensationalism and inauthentic accounts still applies,’ the company said.
We’ll continue our work to prioritise high quality news in News Feed, including news from sources that are broadly trusted, informative and relevant to local communities. We look forward to improving and expanding these efforts this year, added Facebook.