The company whose goal was once “to make the world more open and connected” is doubling down on local matters.
Facebook announced Monday it will begin showing more news from local outlets in the Newsfeed. The strategy shift is part of a broader push at the site to elevate content from trusted sources, given the site’s role in the 2016 election as a massive conduit of disinformation from Russian agents to the American public.
In a blog post discussing the changes, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he hopes an emphasis on what’s happening locally might draw people’s attention away from the more divisive topics that have come to dominate national conversations.
“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,” Zuckerberg wrote. “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.”
He also indicated he hoped Facebook users would become more civically engaged and involved on a local level after learning of their communities’ issues.
“People who know what’s happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference,” he explained.
Local news, sports and even neighborhood blogs are likely to have a higher profile in the future, the company said. Those sources won’t just pop up at random, however: You’ll only see their posts if you follow their page, or if your friends share their stories.