Social media giant Facebook announced early this week that it is expanding its news feature that will have information about local news and community details collected by government agencies and will be relayed to users based on their geographical location. In a recent company blog Facebook announced that the new feature called “Today Inn” is being tested since January in five US cities and will soon be available across 400 cities within the US. The feature has a dedication section which collects locally relevant stories based on area and posts it in packaged format to users’ News Feed.
Facebook stated that this feature would help people keep in touch with local news and events happening in their community and will comprise mixture of local news, community updates and municipal information. Facebook CEO Mark stated that this feature would prioritize local news content within its News Feed from Jan this year as people consistently ask them to see local news on the network as it helps them to understand issues that matter to their communities and affects their lives. While Mark insisted that the main reason behind the feature was to promote local news, Facebook’s product manager Anthea Watson stated that they did not want to start expansion without driving value for the users through community pages.
As a resident of Tallahassee, Florida she follows the local community news on the “Today In”feature and affirmed that she was pleasantly surprised by the variety of local news that she could pick up with just one feature that she would have missed earlier as she does not follow all local pages. The move could help drive positive attention towards Facebook which has been battling criticism from all sides for fake news, data privacy issues, and Russian interference in presidential polls followed by its lax advertising policy that led to congressmen demanding the presence of CEO Mark at parliamentary hearing.