Facebook will start start pushing more news stories from local sources into your news feed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on his favorite social network today. The update is the latest in a series of changes that Facebook is making to ensure that the network is “good for your well-being and for society,” not to mention palatable for investors.
Zuckerberg says that following the update, you’ll see more stories from news sources in your town or city. If you follow a local news source, or one of your friends shares it, it will show up higher in your News Feed. The update is rolling out to users in the US now, with Facebook planning expansion to more countries later this year.
Facebook is still feeling the fallout of the fake news problems that plagued the 2016 presidential elections. Following a year of Congressional hearings, bad PR stories, and Zuckerberg’s highly authentic fact-finding tour of rural America, Facebook is instituting a series of changes that are designed to lessen the impact of fake news and encourage “meaningful interactions” between users, rather than your News Feed being a highly gamified way for media organizations to get clicks.
“People consistently tell us they want to see more local news on Facebook,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post today. “Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives. Research suggests that reading local news is directly correlated with civic engagement. People who know what’s happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference.”
“When I traveled around the country last year, one theme people kept telling me is how much we all have in common if we can get past some of the most divisive national issues. Many people told me they thought that if we could turn down the temperature on the more divisive issues and instead focus on concrete local issues, then we’d all make more progress together.”
Essentially, Facebook is saying that it wants to deal with difficult issues by ignoring them entirely, and turning its entire news output into those five-minute feel-good segments at the end of the local news broadcasts where everyone pulls together to repair a new park bench.