In January, Facebook committed to surfacing more localized news within the News Feed. This announcement came on the heels of a major News Feed update that cut organic reach to commercial Facebook pages. This local news prioritization update has now been rolled out to Facebook users in all countries, across all languages.
While the social media behemoth clearly wants to surface meaningful communication between users, it is also showing a strong commitment to delivering local content. With the announcement of a localized “Today In” Hub for town hall-type content, as well as this new commitment to local news across the globe, local publishers have reason to be somewhat bullish on Facebook.
This update also includes help for those local publishers with multiple locations. Facebook will now consider a publisher as local to multiple cities if the people in those cities are more likely than the people outside of those cities to read articles from the publisher’s domain. Simply put, if a publication is consumed more by users in a specific location, it may be considered local, thereby garnering a boost in organic reach.
“By expanding the scope of what may be considered local to people, we’re including other cities that people may care about and connecting people to local publishers from those cities,” wrote Alex Hardiman, Head of News Product, and Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships in the announcement. Hardiman and Brown also said Facebook would ”continue to prioritize high quality news in News Feed, including news from sources that are broadly trusted, informative and relevant to local communities.”
The move to prioritize quality local news comes at a time when Facebook is struggling to regain trust among its many stakeholders for its role in enabling the spread of fake news and handling of consumer data.