Facebook really wants you to feel that you can trust what’s showing up in your News Feed, and now it’s adding your local news organization to the list of things you’re more likely to see going forward.
In recent weeks, the company has made several big changes to the way News Feed works. The biggest was prioritizing posts from friends and family over those from brands. Then is said it was leaning on users to judge the trustworthiness of news posts. And now it’s going to give priority to posts from local news publishers “so you can see topics that have a direct impact on you and your community and discover what’s happening in your local area.”
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“Local news helps build community — both on and offline,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote today. “It’s an important part of making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is valuable.”
Whether or not this is good for users is to be determined. It’s almost certainly not good for big publishing brands which, with each change to Facebook’s algorithms, are seeing their influence wane. Clearly, though, Facebook is making all these moves in a bid to convince regulators, investors, and, sure, users, that it’s taking meaningful steps to keep fake news off the platform in the run-up to this fall’s U.S. elections.
The prioritization of local news is being rolled out first in the United Sates and will likely be extended to other countries later this year, Facebook says. One can only wonder what the next big change will be.