Social giant Facebook started up an initiative back in January that prioritizes local news sources for users who seek their news on the platform, and now the company is ready to begin using that same initiative on a worldwide scale. The news feed changes should now be active for all Facebook users worldwide as of this writing. The idea is that users will see news from their own city first, which means that they will get to see what's happening in their own communities, and get a local spin on news that's more widespread, such as international relations and news from the tech world.
Alongside the announcement that international audiences will start seeing local news first, Facebook also said that it will make a small change to what it considers local to users by bringing in content from nearby cities if it's deemed to be from a relevant local publication. Essentially, if a user in a certain city is geographically close by and is more likely to look at that publication than others, it will be promoted on their news feed despite not being from the same city. A good example of this is regional news publications on Facebook, such as Bay News 9, which covers the entire Tampa Bay area of Florida, including Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Ruskin, Tampa, and more. Under the old system, users in Clearwater who may now see promoted stories from Bay News 9 first may have seen a city-level publication, even a small one or one with content not entirely relevant to the news search at hand. As another example, under this new system, readers in London, England can now see articles from The Manchester Evening News promoted higher in their news feed or search results, if they're deemed more relevant than comparable content from local publications in London or offer content that those publications do not.
Facebook has been hard at work to optimize itself for use as a central news platform, an effort that has been harried by a battle with fake news that has raged on even before the 2016 United States Presidential Election, during which the term was popularized. It only makes sense that local news would not only be more relevant to individual users, but also that users will have a harder time running across any fake news that manages to get onto the platform if they're presented with local news on a priority basis, since recognized local news outlets almost never publish misleading or overly provocative content for a local audience.