Earlier this year, Neowin reported on the fact that Facebook was going to update its News Feed algorithm to prioritise local news content. At the time, only users in the U.S. received the update, but as of today, the change is rolling out to users around the world. You should see the changes no matter which country you’re from, or which languages you speak.
Alex Hardiman, Head of News Product, and Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships at Facebook wrote:
“With this update, we’re helping local publishers who cover multiple, nearby cities reach audiences in those cities. We’ll consider a publisher as local to multiple cities 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.”
Facebook’s motivations for making this change to its News Feed are numerous. One of the reasons was that after Facebook reached two billion users, the company announced that it wanted to bring people closer together to make the service more meaningful for users; providing more localised content was one way it could do this. The other big reason for the change is to do with the U.S. elections and the grilling it has received from U.S. lawmakers who believe Facebook allowed ‘fake news’ to spread; this measure is one way to ensure users are shown news from ‘trusted sources’.
Local publishers, who usually drown their websites in ads due to a lower income with the decline of traditional newspapers, will likely benefit from the alteration as more people will see their content.