Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Monday the social media website would focus on promoting local news in its latest update.
“Starting today, we’re going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. “If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed.” The update will be first rolled out in the United States and expanded to more countries later this year, Zuckerberg said.
The company has been making a series of changes to its website, following criticism that its algorithms may have prioritised misleading news and misinformation in people’s feeds, influencing the 2016 American presidential election as well as political discourse in other countries.
The company recently adjusted its centerpiece News Feed to prioritize what friends and family share, while reducing the amount of non-advertising content from publishers and brands. Coming in the backdrop of Senate hearings over political ads published by Kremlin supporters, and for increasing instances of fake news, this update is set to cater to Facebook’s 2018 motto: people first.
The move to revamp its News Feed had worried investors, who feared that the changes would lead people to spend less time on Facebook.