Facebook to promote local content in News Feed update

January 30, 2018 08:44
Facebook will put more local news in users' feeds as it can help drive more civic engagement in local communities, says Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Reuters

Facebook will focus on promoting local news in a fresh update to its News Feed algorithm, the social media giant's chief executive said on Monday.

"Starting today, we’re going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city,” Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.

"If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed," he wrote.

The update will initially apply to the United States before it is rolled out to more widely, BBC reports.

People who are made aware of what is happening around them are more likely to get involved in their communities and "make a difference", Zuckerberg wrote in his post.

"Research suggests that reading local news is directly correlated with civic engagement," the Facebook chief said.

Zuckerberg added that the changes were part of the company's drive to show more "high quality, trusted news".

In a statement, Facebook said the "See First" feature will allow users to choose which news sources, including local or national publications, they want to see at the top of their feeds, according to the BBC.

The social media behemoth is making a series of changes to its website and app following criticism over the appearance of misleading news and misinformation in users' feeds.

The company recently tweaked its News Feed to prioritize what friends and family share, while cutting the amount of non-advertising content from publishers and brands, as Reuters noted.

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