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Facebook expands its Today In function. Users can see local news and local announcements via the function. Until now, the function was available in four hundred American cities, but now tests are starting in Australia as well.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s social network reports this in a blog post. One of the reasons for enlargement lies in the fact that some people live in what is described as a news desert and there is hardly any local news, or where it is not easy to find.

Wide-ranging need

With this function, Facebook responds to a broader need. Fifty percent of the people who recently participated in a social network survey said they wanted to see more local news on their newsfeed. The research showed that people wanted two things more on their timeline: local news, for example around the city council, crimes or weather forecasts, and information that would help people make plans. These include public transport times, road works and the opening hours of restaurants and shops.

People who live in a city where the Today In function is available see this as a separate tab next to the newsfeed. They can choose to watch the news there, but are also given the option to set the local news to be shown in their regular timeline.

Governments and emergency services

Facebook is also currently working with local authorities and emergency services to get important updates from users. The test has so far covered only 100 authorities, but the initiative could help people. For example, they can use it to inform citizens about locations where natural disasters occur, traffic jams and other issues.

Facebook filters local news to prevent fake news from appearing in the timeline. For this purpose, certain filters are active, but it also looks at clickbait.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.