Facebook is apparently testing a new feed for its app to highlight local news and events. With “Today in”, Facebook takes one more step into a localized experience for users.
You may recall that a few months ago, Facebook launched a “Local” app, as a separate downloaded app. I’m not sure what happened to that one, but given we’ve not heard much more it seems it didn’t get sufficient traction.
Now it seems the answer is to integrate those local news and events directly into the main app in the form of the “Today in” feed.
A widely cited source of this story appears to be Recode who reports that the test is running in just six cities for now: New Orleans, La.; Little Rock, Ark.; Billings, Mont.; Peoria, Ill.; Olympia, Wash.; and Binghamton, N.Y.
It seems that this is an outgrowth of the Facebook Journalism project first announced this time last year.
Recode suggests that Facebook will grow “Today In” to other cities as it gets a better handle on the feature.
Sadly, I’m not yet seeing Facebook “Today in” New Orleans feed in the app just yet.
Recode: Facebook is testing a new section of the app specifically for local news and events
The social network is testing a new section inside its app called “Today In,” a feed made up entirely of local news, events and announcements.
Facebook is using machine-learning software to surface content in this new section. Local news publishers who appear there will all be approved and vetted by the company’s News Partnerships team, which is overseen by former NBC news anchor Campbell Brown, according to a company spokesperson.
AdWeek: Facebook Is Testing a Separate Destination for Local News in Its Mobile Apps
Today In—the latest initiative from the Facebook Journalism Project—provides local news and other information including community updates, recent news, group discussions and local events, and content included in the section comes from local publishers that are selected via algorithm and by the social network’s news partnership team.
It is not a curated section, but the goal is to make sure local publishers that should be included make the cut.
TechCrunch: Facebook is testing a city-specific section of its app to elevate local news and events
In an effort to up its signal to noise ratio, Facebook may go local. The company is testing a new area of its app called “Today In,” a mix of city-specific events, announcements and local news.
Facebook’s News Partnerships team is spearheading the experiment, employing both human curators and machine learning to populate the content in the new sections. (Let’s hope they go heavy on the former.)
With a slightly different spin, Vator suggests Nextdoor should be running scared.
Vator: Facebook puts focus on local news; Nextdoor should be worried
If 2017 was the year that Facebook finally defeated Snap, then it’s helpful to remember how exactly it did that: basically, by copying it.
First was Instagram’s pretty blatant rip-off of Snapchat’s Stories feature (Instagram even went so far as to also name its feature as Stories to show how little it was trying to hide what it was doing), followed by its Events Channel, which similar to Snap’s Live Stories. Not coincidentally, Snap Stories have since taken a major hit.
Now Facebook has a new feature that perhaps should be getting the attention of another of its social media rivals: Nextdoor.
Other articles which appear to be primarily derived from the above:
9to5Mac: Facebook testing new ‘Today In’ feed to better showcase local news & events
MacRumors: Facebook is Testing a New City-Specific ‘Today’ Feed for Local News and Events
AndroidAuthority: Facebook is testing a new section to emphasize local news
c|net: Facebook testing local news and events section in its app
I finally see the actual feed. It’s pretty cool.