Zuckerberg wrote that he hopes the focus on local news will help "turn down the temperature on the more divisive issues" that divide our country.
In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said the change was informed by research that shows the "well-being" of users is better served by connecting with friends and family than by "passively reading articles or watching videos". "If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed". 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 created 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. The massively popular social network has found itself in the news recently for, well, how it shows people the news. "Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives", he wrote.
"Beginning today, we will indicate more stories from news sources in your neighborhood town or city", CEO Mark Zuckerberg says in a post declaring the most recent change to his organization's News Feed.
Facebook's move to prioritize local news follows News Feed changes earlier this month to lessen the amount of divisive content on the world's largest social network.
The update will initially apply to the U.S. before it is rolled out more widely. "We're starting this first in the USA, and our goal is to expand to more countries this year".
Alex Hardiman, Head of News Product and Campbell Brown, Head of News Partnerships, said Facebook identifies local publishers as those whose links are clicked on by readers in a tight geographic area.
On January 19, Zuckerberg said that Facebook intends to prioritize "news that is trustworthy, informative, and local".
This initial fall in traffic will undoubtedly get narrow over time, since users would still look for a solution to find and consume publisher content, even if Facebook is not supporting it. Audiences always wish to have more content from their preferred outlets and from brands that they trust.