Facebook wants to get on with normal life after recent controversies surrounding how it handles user data. The latest information from the company, though, has nothing to do with its recent travails, still can be regarded as a positive move. The social networking giant has initiated a global rollout of a News Feed tweak it announced for US users alone back in January.
The move, according to Facebook, is aimed at according more priority to local news in your News Feed. What that means is that you will henceforth get to see more local news in your News Feed. In other words, it means more quality local content that you can relate with as against low quality news currently being championed by Facebook’s AIs.
“Earlier this year, we announced a change in the US to prioritize local news so people can see topics that have a direct impact on their community and discover what’s happening in their local area.
The audience this time will be wider than it was when it was first announced last January–a global roll out as a matter of fact.
“Today, we’re expanding that update to people in all countries, in all languages. Now, people around the world will see more news on Facebook from local sources covering their current city and other cities they may care about.”
By local cities, Facebook is saying that “if the people in those cities are more likely than the people outside of those cities to read articles from the publisher’s domain. 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.”
With this update, the social networking giant has finally bowed to constant pressure from publishers to make News Feed local to their community. Speaking on the update last January, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said:
“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. Research suggests that reading local news is directly correlated with civic engagement. People who know what’s happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference.”
Last July, Facebook announced new algorithm change that enabled it to bury spammy links in a way only few people will be able to see them. The emphasis that time was placed on giving priority to more informative links. This was to the detriment of those links that are posted by suspected spammers—such links, according to Facebook, will be accorded less priority in the News Feed.
The goal was to push to the background Links suspected to have been posted by spammers, while those with useful information will be accorded priority. According to Facebook research, such links [spammy links] “tend to include low quality content such as clickbait, sensationalism, and misinformation.” The move was also aimed at according less priority to clickbait, fake news or misinformation, and sensationalism. Ultimately, users will be able to access quality news and information on the network.