TECH
30/01/2018 11:10 GMT

Facebook Continues News Feed Revolution By Prioritising Local News

'Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives.'

In the latest upheaval to the social media platform, Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook will now be prioritising local news in the News Feed. 

The CEO said that stories from your town or city, regional publishers you already follow, and locally-based pieces shared by your friends, will be given much more prominence when you are scrolling.

The decision to bump these pieces - that have increasingly been drowned out by larger national and global publishers - is part of his efforts to “emphasise high quality news”.

Stephen Lam / Reuters

In a status on his personal page, Zuckerberg said this is a move that people have asked for: “People consistently tell us they want to see more local news on Facebook.”

“Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives.”

“People who know what’s happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference.”

Local publishers will be identified by looking at links clicked on by readers in a tight geographic area. And if a story is from a publisher in your area, and you either follow the publisher’s page or your friend shares a story from that outlet, it might show up higher.

The changes are rolling out on Facebook over the coming year, starting in the USA this month and going global later in 2018.  

This fits into larger plans to take the emphasis off “fun” and make Facebook better for user’s wellbeing, and society, as a whole, says Zuckerberg.

The brand also hopes “if we could turn down the temperature on the more divisive issues” and instead focus on “concrete local issues” we will make more progress towards a common goal.

Other changes are also taking place, including far fewer posts from brands, business and media outlets including news organisations. And instead seeing more posts from the human beings you follow.

This started happening back in 2016 but Facebook will take increasingly greater steps to hide these posts from your feed over the coming months.

Facebook has already started investing heavily in increasing interactivity between its users through the creation of Facebook Spaces.

A renewed focus on groups and communities will allow people who have common interests to engage with each other on the site.