In an attempt to further address its ‘fake news’ problem and make the platform a better place for people to find local stories, Facebook is testing a new section in its app called “Today In.”
As reported by Recode, the feature combines events, announcements, and local news items specific to a particular city. The initial test markets are New Orleans, Louisiana; Olympia, Washington; Billings, Montana; Binghamton, New York; Peoria, Illinois and Little Rock, Arkansas.
The feature, which can be accessed using the bottom right menu button in the Facebook app (the three horizontal lines), brings together human curation and machine learning to surface content. It’s part of Facebook’s Journalism Project Initiative, which includes creating local news partnerships as one of its objectives.
The local news publishers that appear in the new section will all be approved and vetted by the company’s News Partnerships team, writes Recode.
Facebook plans to alert those living in the six cities about the new feature. Eventually, the company hopes to roll it out to more locations and allow users to follow a city they don’t reside in.
Facebook is continuing to introduce new features that it hopes will solve some of the many problems people have with the company. In December, it promised to clamp down on those posts that beg users for shares, reacts, comments, and tags, aka ‘engagement bait.’
The social network brought in a 'disputed' tag to highlight fake news stories in early 2017 but, following a Yale study that found the labeling either wasn’t helping or making things worse, it stopped using the tags last month.