Give the Public What It Wants: Facebook News
Over the past two years, you have likely seen changes on Facebook as it strives to be a platform for breaking news, whether at the international, national or local level. You might have glimpsed a section called “Today In” or seen a post in your Feed designated as “Breaking News.” As Facebook continues to hone its offering, Tripepi Smith wants to provide you with a quick summary of how “Facebook News” works, and how public agencies can take advantage of at least one new feature.
How “Facebook News” Works
Not to be confused with the main “News Feed” that shows you content from your Friends, Pages and Groups, Facebook now offers “Facebook News.” (The previous “Today In” feature has been folded into Facebook News)
This section in your Facebook mobile app is separate from your Feed. As with your Feed, Facebook News content has been personalized according to your interests, your web/search history (if enabled), and other content you engage with on Facebook. See “How Facebook News Works” for more information.
Facebook News content comes from over 200 verified media outlets that have registered to be “News Pages.” Per Facebook, “Any Facebook Page that primarily creates journalism should be registered as a news Page on Facebook.” Your local public agency or for-profit company will probably not have success in applying. Facebook News divides “publishers” into four different categories: general, topical, diverse, and local news.
Local Breaking News Indicator
Only certain registered News Pages can use the “Local Breaking News indicator,” which allows them to specially tag/categorize posts they create. Facebook is currently testing the Local Breaking News indicator with localized publishers in a small number of counties throughout the United States. We expect to see this feature grow over time.
Represented by the “⚠️” indicator, this new tool sends immediate Notifications to all Page followers in a designated geographical area. A few hundred local governments have had access as Facebook fine-tuned the product. Now, it’s available to all agencies who complete this submission form.
Local Alerts can be a powerful part of your emergency communications toolset, in addition to other common platforms such as Nextdoor, Everbridge/Nixle and Twitter. You can learn more about using Facebook for emergency communications on the Tripepi Smith website.
Facebook has become a prominent source for news information. We hope this gave you a better understanding of how Facebook selects News content, and inspires you to take advantage of Facebook’s Local Alerts tool.