Post by Matt Southern
The new Facebook update is connecting more people to local news and information with an expansion of its “Today In” section.
Today In is now available in 400 US cities and is being tested internationally in Australia.
Facebook has paid particular attention to making Today In available in “news deserts,” which are communities with a low supply of local news.
Today In, which curates local news and community information in a separate section of the Facebook app, has been in testing since March 2018.
Users with access to Today In can either visit the section directly or opt-in to seeing updates in their News Feed.
Those who live in one of the cities where Today In is available can find it in the Facebook app by tapping the three-dash menu button and then tapping on “Today In.”
Users will have the option to change their Today In city if they want to see news from other areas than where they’re currently located.
Facebook says it hopes to expand Today In more broadly in the near future.
Introducing Local Alerts
As part of this expansion, Facebook is testing alerts from local government and first responder pages.
The test is currently limited to 100+ pages and is designed to help them communicate time-sensitive and must-know information.
Alerts will be marked with a ‘local alert’ label, as seen in the example below:
Pages with access to the local alerts feature can only post 35 alerts in a 30-day period, which should allow them to communicate important information without cluttering users’ news feeds.
Although local alerts will receive a special label they will be ranked like any other post in the news feed.