Facebook has rolled out a local news section for UK users of Facebook News.
The social network said in a blog post that the new feature will help “hundreds of publishers drive additional audiences to their sites and connect people to the news that matters to them most”.
Facebook News came to the UK in January this year, after first launching in the US in October 2019. The local news section arrived in the US last year. It’s the first time Facebook’s users have been able to receive local news outside of following a specific local news publication.
Users will be served local news based on the location they’ve set on their Facebook profile, the platform said. They can also choose to receive news from publishers covering locations they’re interested in by using the “add location” function.
Local news publishers signed up to Facebook News include Archant, ESI Media, Iliffe, JPI Media, Midland News Association, Reach and STV.
Sarah Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships for Northern Europe, said: “Connecting people to local news has never been so important and many people have come to rely on local outlets for the latest information throughout the pandemic.
“With this new feature on Facebook News we want to drive traffic to local sites, helping publishers reach new audiences. For people on Facebook, they can now see the local news they care about alongside the biggest national stories of the day.”
Facebook recently announced another year of funding for its Community News Project with a £2.25m donation. The scheme launched in 2018 with a fund of £4.5m over two years, paying the wages of some 80 journalists and for their training with the National Council for the Training of Journalists.