Facebook announced updates to promote news from local sources in users' News Feeds, now showing more trusted information and connect people to their local communities.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that if a user follows a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed.
The local news update began rolling out Monday, Facebook said. It will expand to more countries this year.
"When I traveled around the country last year, one theme people kept telling me is how much we all have in common if we can get past some of the most divisive national issues," Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. "Many people told me they thought that if we could turn down the temperature on the more divisive issues and instead focus on concrete local issues, then we'd all make more progress together."
Facebook said there are no constraints on eligible publishers whose links are clicked on by readers in a tight geographic area. Not only will large local publishers benefit, but small niche outlets that cover sports, arts, and human-interest stories will too.
Facebook's move to prioritize local news follows News Feed changes earlier this month to lessen the amount of divisive content and fake news on the world's largest social network. Facebook now prioritizes posts from friends and high-quality news sources as well, and told publishers it expects the amount of news in News Feed to go down.
"This is just the beginning of our efforts to prioritize high-quality news. This update may not capture all small or niche-interest publishers at first, but we are working to improve precision and coverage over time," Facebook wrote in a blog post. "All of our work to reduce false news, misinformation, clickbait, sensationalism and inauthentic accounts still applies."
Past News Feed changes, Facebook is also testing a dedicated section called Today In that shows news and information in their community.