Facebook testing new feature to host city-specific local news

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Facebook, the social network with more than 2 billion users worldwide, is testing a new section in its app for local news, events and announcements.

Facebook is now testing "Today In" in New Orleans; Little Rock, Ark.; Billings, Mont.; Peoria, Ill.; Olympia, Wash.; and Binghamton, N.Y., according to Recode.

The social networking behemoth is reportedly using artificial intelligence to cull content for the new section. As reported by a company spokesperson, the Company's News Partnerships team which is directed by former NBC News Anchor Campbell Brown is entrusted with the responsibility of approving and vetting the local news publishers featuring on Facebook. For now, the test is running in six cities of the USA, while the company is also planning to expand it to more countries after the test completes.

Facebook Inc shares rose $0.62 (+0.33%) in premarket trading Thursday.

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The users in the batches in which the test is going on can access the icon on the bottom of the menu in their mobile app. There was a charge being circulated against Facebook that during the election season, a so-called fake news doing rounds on the social network was partially responsible for Donald Trump's unexpected victory, and so the tech giant was partly to blame for it. 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.

The company has tested and launched a handful of other news-related features this year as part of the effort, including a breaking news label for publishers and a label identifying stories disputed by outside fact-checkers. These will include posts coming both from people as well as pages.

The different political persuasions of audiences are likely to affect how they react to Facebook's vetting process that is meant to prevent the spread of political propaganda disguised as news.

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