As part of its ongoing push for more “meaningful” content, Facebook now says it will give greater preference to local news in users’ New Feeds.
“Starting today, we’re going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city,” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg notes in a new blog post.
If people follow a local publisher, that content is now more likely to appear prominently in their feeds, Zuckerberg said. The same goes for local stories shared by people’s friends.
It is not just local news services like Nextdoor that will benefit from the changes, Facebook executives say.
For example, large publishers that focus more on niche topics, like local sports, arts and human-interest stories, could see their content get more traction on Facebook, too. For Facebook, the changes are part of a broader war on low-quality content.
At the expense of content from businesses and publishers, Facebook recently said it would be giving greater priority to fare from users’ friends and family.
In users’ feeds, Facebook is now prioritizing posts that engender conversations and what its algorithms consider to be “meaningful” interactions.
Regarding Facebook’s bottom line, analysts have suggested the changes could have a negative impact in the short term, but a positive impact in the long term.
“The actions the company will take pose a headwind to growth for the business in the near-term,” Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser wrote in a recent investor note. “However, we also think that the actions taken will be helpful for the long-term health of the overall business.”
As part of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s push for greater authenticity, Facebook also recently started cracking down on solicitors of “likes,” shares and other types of phony engagement.
It’s what Facebook calls “engagement bait,” or the manipulation of its News Feed algorithm in order to boost engagement and achieve greater reach.