Facebook is working on a new section for local news

Confirmed: Less face time for brands and media on Facebook Newsfeed

Facebook's news partnership team will check the relevance of the news that goes on the feed.

Facebook is using a machine-learning algorithm to filter content in this new section. Local news publishers who appear there will all be approved and vetted by the company's News Partnerships team, which is overseen by former NBC news anchor Campbell Brown, according to a company spokesperson.

The move comes as part of Facebook's Journalism Project announced in January previous year to curb the spread of fake news on its platform and build out local news partnerships.

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Commentators point out that the social network's reported foray into local news publishing segment comes at a time when it is looking to fix the problem of misinformation and fake news on its platform. Users in test markets will be able to access the feature through the bottom-right menu button (the three horizontal lines) in the core Facebook app. The initiative set out to improve Facebook's rocky relationship with publishers, though as 2017 progressed its mission to "support journalism and news literacy" certainly became full-on mission critical.

Facebook is cautiously hand-selecting local publishers to feature on this new section of the app that should help keep fake news at bay to a large extent and thus substantially prevent the dissemination of false information to the user base. For now, the test is running in six cities of the United States, while the company is also planning to expand it to more countries after the test completes.

On the flipside, the report notes that while users may appreciate the local aspect of "Today In", Facebook could have trouble attracting advertisers to feeds that are smaller and less diverse in nature. This More tab is filled with many of Facebook's forgotten features and "Today In" would benefit from being placed front and centre, making the platform more local-centric.

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