Facebook field tests “Today In” feed
With fake news dominating headlines (in multiple senses) since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, many people are increasing their demand for vetted and sourced journalism.
In response to this in January 2017 Facebook announced The Facebook Journalism Project and initiative, whose goals are to develop improved news products for the social media platform, to provide training and tools for journalists, and to develop news literacy amongst the general populace.
Now a year later Facebook has started testing a new section within the app called “Today In”. “Today In” will feature a feed of news, announcements and events specific to the local area of the user.
Initially being tested in six trial locations (Olympia, Washington; New Orleans, Louisiana; Billings, Montana; Binghamton, New York; Peoria, Illinois and Little Rock, Arkansas), the new feature has two main goals. The first to help stop the spread of fake news on the site, part of the reason The Facebook Journalism Project was created, and secondly to help shape the site’s signal to noise ratio as users consistently find it harder to access only content in which they are interested.
“Today In” leverages Facebook’s machine-learning software to bring content to the user in the new section, surfacing only what is relevant to the area. News publishers from the nearby area will be approved and vetted by Facebook’s News Partnerships team whom Facebook hired Campbell Brown, a former NBC news anchor, to run in January of last year.
Facebook has said that in the future users will be able to access not only a local “Today In” feed but also ones for a number of favourite places such as the place they went grew up, or went to University or where their parents live.
Dominion holds Facebook in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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