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Facebook Expands Tool to Connect Users to Local News

"The local alert label appears in News Feed and Today In, and we are also testing notifications, which participating Pages can target to people who live in the affected areas," Strong added

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Facebook
Facebook releases Messenger redesign on Android, iOS. Pixabay

Facebook has started expanding its “Today In” section for local news and community information to make it easier for people to find news and information from their local towns and cities.

“It is now available in over 400 cities in the US, and we have launched our first international test in Australia,” Anthea Watson Strong, Product Manager for Local News and Community Information at Facebook said in a statement on Wednesday.

Facebook said it wants to expand the “Today In” section more broadly soon.

“In addition, we have started testing Today In in communities located in news deserts, places that have low supply of local news and community information, by supplementing with relevant content from surrounding areas,” Strong said.

Today In aggregates local news and community information in a separate section within the Facebook app.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

People who live in a city where Today In is currently available can visit this section directly, and they can choose to turn on local updates to start seeing a collection of local news more regularly in their News Feed.

Facebook started testing Today In earlier this year after doing a research in which it found that over 50 per cent of people said they wanted to see more local news and community information on Facebook — more than any other type of content they were asked about.

The research showed that people wanted both what might be traditionally understood as local news — breaking news or information about past events like city council meetings, crime reports and weather updates — as well as community information that could help them make plans, like bus schedules, road closures and restaurant openings.

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“In addition to expanding the availability of Today In, we’re running a test with over 100 local government and first responder Pages to help them communicate time-sensitive and need-to-know information to people on Facebook,” Strong said.

“The local alert label appears in News Feed and Today In, and we are also testing notifications, which participating Pages can target to people who live in the affected areas,” Strong added. (IANS)

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Facebook Suspends 3 Pages Linked to Russian Government

Maffick's videos are generally critical of US foreign policy and the mainstream American media, while largely avoiding criticism of the Russian government.

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Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Three video-centric pages run by a viral video company – Maffick Media – have been suspended from Facebook because they failed to properly disclose their ties with Russia, the media reported.

Ruptly, a subsidiary of the state-run RT (formerly Russia Today) which is funded by the Russian government, has a 51 per cent stake in Maffick Media.

“People connecting with Pages shouldn’t be misled about who’s behind them. Just as we’ve stepped up our enforcement of coordinated inauthentic behaviour and financially motivated spam over the past year, we’ll continue improving so people can get more information about the Pages they follow,” CNN quoted a Facebook spokesperson as saying on Friday.

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Facebook suspends 3 pages linked to Russian government. Pixabay

Facebook has suspended the pages intending to reach out to their admins, demanding them to disclose where the pages have been running from and their affiliation with their parent company in order to get back on the platform.

Designed to appeal to millennials, videos on these pages have collected tens of millions of views on Facebook but the pages do not disclose that they are backed by the Russian government, CNN reported.

Maffick’s videos are generally critical of US foreign policy and the mainstream American media, while largely avoiding criticism of the Russian government.

Facebook, Suspends
Facebook has suspended the pages intending to reach out to their admins, demanding them to disclose where the pages have been running from. VOA

“The move was an unusual one for Facebook since the company does not require users to provide information about parent companies, but it is rolling out ways to try to increase transparency about who runs popular Facebook pages and it has been taking aggressive steps to tackle covert government-backed information operations on its service,” CNN added.

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Unlike YouTube, Facebook does not have a policy of labelling state-sponsored media on the platform, but according to the report, it is considering transparency options that could help address the issue. (IANS)