Facebook has announced that its ‘Today In’ local news section is now available in over 400 cities across the United States.
Earlier in November, Facebook announced that it is expanding its ‘Today In’ section outside the United States for the first time, with its introduction in 10 cities across Australia. With this week’s US expansion though, the tool will now be available in 400 cities across the US.
Announcing the move, Anthea Watson Strong, Product Manager for Local News and Community Information at Facebook explained that the company has now “started testing Today In in communities located in news deserts, places that have a low supply of local news and community information, by supplementing with relevant content from surrounding areas.”
Facebook started testing ‘Today In’ after doing research that found over 50% of people wanted to see more local news and community information on its platform. As, Strong explains, “the research showed that people wanted both what might be traditionally understood as local news — breaking news or information about past events like city council meetings, crime reports and weather updates — as well as community information that could help them make plans, like bus schedules, road closures and restaurant openings.”
In addition to the expansion of ‘Today In’ across the US, Facebook is now also testing a system “with over 100 local government and first responder Pages to help them communicate time-sensitive and need-to-know information to people” on the platform.
The system was first-used during Hurricane Florence, where 17 first responder pages posted 73 local alerts. These provided people with “critical updates.”
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