Facebook is working on a new section for local news


Facebook is testing a new feature where it will have city-specific local news, events and announcements available on its platform.

The test is currently live for a new section called “Today In” in six US cities, CNET reported on Thursday. Users in test markets will be able to access the feature through the bottom-right menu button on Facebook.

A machine learning (ML) software will power the “Today In” section, helping a team find local content. Local news publishers will be approved by Facebook’s News Partnerships team.

The move comes as part of Facebook’s Journalism Project announced in January last year to curb the spread of fake news on its platform and build out local news partnerships. Last year, the social media giant also tested products to connect its users to local news.

Facebook’s reported foray into local news publishing segment comes at a time when the social networking giant is scrambling to fix the problem of misinformation and fake news on its platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his ‘New Year Challenge’ said that this year he will focus on dealing with abuse and hate, fake news or interference by nation-states on the platform.

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Facebook’s Director of News Alexandra Hardiman last month said that the social networking giant was using all possible tools to combat the problem of fake news. These tools include machine learning, third-party partnerships for fact-checking initiatives, keeping tabs when the source is credible.