Move over national news. High school sports, arts, and local happenings around your neighborhood will start popping up more frequently in your Facebook News Feed.
Starting on Monday, Facebook will promote local news as part of its shift to make the social networking service better for society.
“Local news helps build community—both on and offline. It’s an important part of making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is valuable,” the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
The change is part of a Facebook overhaul to reduce noise over the service. Overall, the company intends to feature less news on the site in favor of posts from family, friends, and groups. But when articles do appear, they’ll be from trusted media sources.
However, on Monday, Zuckerberg indicated that hot-button national news topics can be problematic for Facebook. Specifically, they’ve become too divisive, and are driving communities apart.
“When I traveled around the country last year, one theme people kept telling me is how much we all have in common if we can get past some of the most divisive national issues,” he wrote in his Facebook post. “Many people told me they thought that if we could turn down the temperature on the more divisive issues and instead focus on concrete local issues, then we’d all make more progress together.”
The change also intends to create more “civic engagement,” Zuckerberg said. “People who know what’s happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference,” he said.
National media groups might not like the shift, but it’ll give more exposure to local publishers and blogs, including those focused on sports, arts and human-interest stories, Facebook said in a separate statement.
The change goes into effect today in the US, and will be rolled out in other countries throughout 2018. It comes as Facebook’s CEO has vowed to fight fake news on the platform, and make the service better for people’s well being.
Facebook hasn’t said whether it’ll vet these local media sources, but it isn’t the only company focusing on neighborhood area news. Last week, Google unveiled a “hyperlocal” news app called Bulletin that’ll publish stories geared toward local communities. Google is piloting the app in Nashville, Tennessee and Oakland, California.