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Facebook expands local news feature ‘Today In’ to 400+ US cities



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  • Facebook
    is expanding “Today In,” its local-focused news hub, to more
    than 400 cities.
  • Today In shows users news, posts, and events from their
    local area.
  • But it also provides a new avenue through which
    misinformation and fake news could spread.

is widely rolling out a new feature for local news and events, a
tool intended to engage users with their local communities that
also opens up a new front in the company’s battle against fake
news and disinformation.

On Wednesday,
the social network announced that it is expanding “Today In” to
more than 400 cities across the US
, as well as some in
Australia. It had previously been tested in around 100 American
cities. (There’s a complete
map of cities where the feature is available here

It is also trialing an alert system that will let government
pages flag “time-sensitive and need-to-know information,” such as
natural disasters and road closures, to users.

Today In is a portal that sits inside the main Facebook app and
provides local-focused news and updates for users about their
area, as well as nearby events and posts. But for years, Facebook
has been bedeviled by fake news and hoaxes spreading on its
platform; if the company is not careful, Today In could provide a
new avenue in which hyper-local falsehoods could spread.

Local news has suffered heavily from falling advertising revenues
and layoffs in recent years, and Facebook (and Google) have been
heavily criticised for contributing to this. Today In may help to
get local news outlets greater exposure — but it seems unlikely
to reverse the trend alone.

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