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Facebook says its news feed changes will promote more local news

  • Facebook said Monday that changes it's making to its algorithm will put more local news into user's feeds.
  • The company had said earlier this month it would also prioritize posts from friends and what it calls "high-quality news sources."
  • Taken together, the changes will mean users will see less overall news in their feeds.
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., speaks during the F8 Developers Conference in San Jose, California, U.S., on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., speaks during the F8 Developers Conference in San Jose, California, U.S., on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

Facebook said Monday that changes it's making to its content-recommendation software will put more local news into users' feeds.

"Today, we're updating News Feed to also prioritize local news so that you can see topics that have a direct impact on you and your community and discover what's happening in your local area," the company wrote in a post.

"This change is taking effect in the U.S., and we plan to expand to more countries this year," said the post, which was written by Alex Hardiman, head of news product at the company, and Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships.

Facebook said it is also "testing a dedicated section on Facebook that connects people to news and information in their community, called Today In. We are testing this in six US cities and plan to expand in the coming months."

The company said earlier this month it would begin to prioritize posts from friends and what Facebook calls "high-quality news sources."

Taken together, the changes will mean users will see less news overall in their feeds.

Facebook shares fell 4 percent on January 12, after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would make changes to promote more "meaningful social interactions," though the stock has recovered since then.

The changes have come after members of Congress and other critics have faulted Facebook for allowing the spread of fake news, hate speech and other unwanted content on the site.

The company will report fourth-quarter and year-end results after the close of markets on Wednesday.

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