Facebook's Latest Tactic Against Fake News is a Focus on Local News

By Tom Pritchard on at

If you have a Facebook account, go and look at the trending news and take a look at the sources. You might, like me, have a list dominated by the likes of Sky, BBC, CBS, Financial Times, Fox, The Guardian and other big name news organisations. It might not be like that for long, however, because Facebook has announced plans to focus on local news stories in a bid to tackle fake news and deliver more 'high quality' content.

Mark Zuckerberg announced this news on Facebook late last night, declaring that "local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities" and from today the site will start showing more stories from a users' local area. There's probably no need to tell Facebook where you live either, considering the terrifying amount of information it has on people.

It's currently a US-only feature, as is typical with this sort of thing, but a wider rollout is planned. The idea being that having local stories ranked higher on the news feed will make people more aware of what's going on in the local area and be more likely to more to get involved and "make a difference".

Plus if Facebook starts promoting a fake story, as it's been known to do, the impact is going to lessened by the fact that it should (in theory) be delivered to a much smaller number of people. Though if it's something big, like claims Jeremy Corbyn ate a local baby, then you can be sure it'll get a bit more attention.

You can read more about it in the embedded post above, including Facebook's claims that its own research shows a strong correlation between reading local news and civic engagement.

It's not the worst idea it's ever had, though I do wonder whether this will make an impact on dodgy stories being shared on Facebook. Then again even a slight decrease in fake stories being read and shared is a good thing, and if it gets people more interested in what's going on around them then that's even better. [Facebook via BBC News]


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