Facebook is making efforts to help connect people with news and information from their local sources has today announced the expansion of its “Today In” local section.
Today In, a new local section is now available in more than 400 U.S. cities. It’s now beginning testing internationally in Australia.
In addition, Facebook has also started a test for local alerts from relevant government pages.
Additionally, Facebook also making Today In available in “news deserts,” which is a community with a low supply of local news and information.
This will help Facebook in supplementing relevant content from surrounding areas to them.
Today In, was in test since earlier this year and curates local news and community information in a separate section of the Facebook app.
People who live in where Today In is available now can visit the section by tapping three-dash (hamburger icon) in the Facebook app and then tap on “Today In” to turn on local updates.
Users who have turned on Today In can then visit the section directly or opt-in to seeing local news updates in their News Feed.
Facebook also allows users to change their Today In the city to see news from other areas.
Today In is expected to expand more broadly in the near future, says Facebook.
Here is a video overview of Today In:
In addition to this expansion of Today In, Facebook has also begun testing local alerts from government and first responder pages.
This test is at present limited to more than 100 pages and is designed to communicate time-sensitive and need-to-know information to people on Facebook.
These alerts will be labeled as “local alert” and will appear in News Feed and Today In, as seen in the example below:
Additionally, Facebook is also testing new notifications to allow participating Pages to send them to people who live in the affected areas.
Participating pages can mark their posts as local alerts for up to six hours at their discretion. They can onyl post 35 local alerts in a 30-day period.
Despite having a special lable, local alerts will not affect the ranking of posts in the News Feed.
Local alerts are not meant to replace emergency alert systems, said Facebook.