Facebook Expands Locally Focused News Feature

Facebook is now expanding a feature which shows people local information and news, that even includes the missing person alert, crime reports, road closures, and school announcements.

Called “Today In”, the service shows the people information from their cities and towns from such sources as new government entities, outlets, and community groups. Facebook launched the service in January with the six cities and expanded that to 25 and more. And yesterday “Today In” in expanding to the 400 cities in America and a few others in Australia as well.

The move comes from the Facebook tries to shake off its reputation as a hotbed for the elections meddling and information and rather a place for communities and people to come together and stay always informed.

Facebook isn't paying anyone to include posts, nor can a business or group pay to be listed – at least for now. “Today In” is the brainchild of the Facebook Journalism project, a large undertaking to boost the news industry, including local news. Of course, Facebook, along with other internet companies, is partly to blame for the decline of local print newspapers.

Here are some things to know about this effort, and why it matters: “We feel the mistakes of our foremothers and forefathers deeply,” she said.

This time around, Facebook employees went to some of the cities they were launching in and met with users. They tried to predict problems by doing “pre-mortem” assessments, she said. That is, instead of a “post-mortem” where engineers dissect what went wrong after the fact, they tried to anticipate how people might misuse a feature – for financial gain, for example.

Facebook has now revealed that how long it has been taking this “pre-mortem” approach, with the practice is not unique to the company. Moreover, it is a significant step given that many of the Facebook current issues stem from its failures to foresee how the bad actors might co-opt the service.

Facebook also hopes the feature's slow rollout will prevent problems.

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