Facebook begins testing local news app

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Facebook announced Wednesday that it’s releasing a new tool aimed at making it easier to find legitimate local news stories.

The new feature, called “Today In,” shows users a feed of local events, announcement and other news.

Facebook is currently testing “Today In” in New Orleans; Little Rock, Ark.; Billings, Mont.; Peoria, Ill.; Olympia, Wash.; and Binghamton, N.Y., according to Recode.

News specific to these communities will be directed to users by both human curators and algorithms. News appearing on each cities’ “Today In” feed will reportedly be vetted by Facebook’s news partnership team.

Users in the initial test batch of cities can access the feature in the bottom menu of the mobile Facebook app.

The project is part of Facebook’s Journalism Project initiative, which it launched last year following the 2016 presidential election. Facebook was facing scrutiny at the time for its role in hoax news stories being disseminated across its platform ahead of the 2016 election.

Publishers had also begun to sour on Facebook as a result of its growing power over whether or not their articles get seen and the impact this has on their ad revenue.

Recode notes that Facebook intends to expand “Today In” to other cities as it tests the feature out.

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