Facebook Tests New Feature In App

Potentially threatening Nextdoor and other local news networks, Facebook just began testing a “Today in” feature on its flagship app.

The feature should now be visible to Facebook users in six U.S. markets, including New Orleans, LA; Little Rock, AR; Billings, MT; Peoria, IL; Olympia, WA; and Binghamton, NY.

As a compliment to its existing offerings, Facebook is positioning “Today in” as a place for users to discover and engage with local news and information.

Offerings include local community updates, recent local news, group discussions and local event listings.

Increasingly, local news is a focus for Facebook’s Journalism Project, which is now 1 year old.

As part of the “Today in” testing, the social giant says it is seeking input from regional newsrooms and local journalists, which it says will shape the service going forward.

Last year, Facebook included local news publishers in the majority of its collaborative product tests, including subscriptions, call to action units -- which are currently driving more than 25,000 email signups daily across all types of publishers -- and a breaking news tag. 

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In place of Facebook Events, the tech titan launched “Facebook Local” late last year. At launch, the rebranded app featured millions of business listings, reviews, recommendations and events.

As a separate app, Facebook spent about a year fleshing out the service and increasing user numbers. Among other uses, the app features events that have caught the attention of “friends,” recently announced events from Pages that users previously had as “likes” and updates from events with which they have already connected.

The app is also intended to make it easier for users to browse event recommendations based on their interests, as well as a time and location of their choosing.

When planning future travel, people can also use the app to search for events in geographical areas of interest.

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