Facebook has announced that it’s expanding “Today In” to more than 400 cities around the U.S., and beginning the initial rollout in Australia, the service’s first international market. Today In will appear in your news feed and compile a selection of local news and information from your area. For those out in so-called “news deserts”, Today In will supplement the low amount of news coverage with relevant content from surrounding areas.
Explaining the presentation of the feature, Anthea Watson Strong Product, Manager for Local News and Community Information at Facebook, said:
“Today In aggregates local news and community information in a separate section within the Facebook app. People who live in a city where Today In is currently available can visit this section directly, and they can choose to turn on local updates to start seeing a collection of local news more regularly in their News Feed.”
In addition to the local news aggregator Today In, Facebook said that it is also going to introduce local alerts from governments and first responder pages. These alerts are undergoing tests with Facebook partners which consist of more than 100 local government and first responder pages. The alerts will help the pages communicate time-sensitive and important information to people on Facebook that live nearby.
Alerts are visible in the News Feed and the dedicated Today In section of Facebook. The firm said that it’s also testing out delivering the time-sensitive information via the notifications tab. These actions come nearly a year after the firm decided that it was going to reorient itself and deliver high-quality and local news to users following accusations that it inadvertently facilitated the spread of fake news.