Facebook Expands its “Today In” Local News Feature to over 6,000 cities

Facebook has launched its “Today In” feature for local news and community information in some 6,000 cities of United States.

Since the launch of this new feature, around 1.6 million people have opted in to receive regular news on their News Feed, said Product Manager Anthea Watson, in a blog post.

The feature is available in the Facebook’s menu where they can also opt in to receive daily updates. The publishers working with Facebook have marked this feature as breaking news that can be found right next to posts in the News Feed.

Shereen Siewert, the Wausau Pilot and Review Publisher has reported that this new feature has been extremely beneficial for them. The news feature has transformed Siewert's publication into a serious news organization and has increased its readers. Also, this feature has help them increase their page views and engagement as well.

John Colucci also reported that the “Today In” feature by Facebook has let their news station identify critical information pretty easily. With the help of this pilot program, they have been able to inform the people in the market in time.

Facebook is working with over 150 local news publishers and this feature is only accessible by the publishers that are registered with Facebook’s news page index. However, Facebook is working to test a dashboard for publishers to check if their articles are appearing on “Today In” and where are they appearing. With this dashboard, the publishers will also be able to check the relevance of their content and if it is up-to-date.

Local news pages in the US have seen a 26 percent year-over-year jump in interactions per post with 50 percent for links specifically, as per reports. The reports also suggested that Facebook has also shared over 97 percent more US link posts year-over-year.

Facebook is trying to be build a community with the help of local news for which it also acquired social analytics and content-discovery tool “CrowdTangle” in November 2016. Apart from it, Facebook also shared a round of grants through Facebook Journalism Project Community Network.

Today In is covering many places that have limited access to the local news and University of Minnesota was the first to publish report on news deserts with the help of data from Facebook.

Read next: Facebook to Have Less US Young and More US Senior Citizen Users
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