Facebook testing new feature to host city-specific local news

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The product, called "Today In" is only available on the Facebook mobile app and is being tested in six U.S. cities: New Orleans, LA; Little Rock, AR; Billings, MT; Peoria, IL; Olympia, WA; Binghamton, NY.

The feature is being tested initially across six USA cities: New Orleans, Louisiana; Little Rock, Arkansas; Billings, Montana; Peoria, Illinois; Olympia, Washington and Binghamton, New York. Users in test markets will be able to access the feature through the bottom-right menu button on Facebook.

"I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions", CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.

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The users will then also be able to follow the cities that they do not now live in, like childhood hometown.

Commentators point out that the social network's reported foray into local news publishing segment comes at a time when it is looking to fix the problem of misinformation and fake news on its platform. 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. Local news sources are vetted and approved by a human first before they're added, the company noted.

The company will expand the "Today In" feature in other cities too. Eventually, the company hopes to roll it out to more locations and allow users to follow a city they don't reside in.

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