Last January, Facebook officially announced the launch of its new ‘Today In’ local news service, which provides a great set of local news updates, including ‘Top Posts from Pages in Your Area’, ‘Recent Articles from Local Publications’, ‘Upcoming Events’ and updates from nearby schools. Facebook launched its Today In’ local news service in the US with only six cities, then it expanded it to a further 25, in order to help people on these regions to explore local news, events, and announcements on their feed, with the original service being vetted by Facebook Staff.
Now, Facebook has rolled out a new Australian version of ‘today in’ local news and community information service across 10 cities in Australia, including Ballarat, Bendigo, Canberra, Geelong, Gold Coast, Hobart, Newcastle, Toowoomba, Townsville, and Wollongong. Accordingly, people in those Australian cities can now see all the local community news in a separate tab located within the app.
Australia is considered to be the first international market to have the service rolled out in. In addition to that, the launch of Facebook’s ‘today in’ local news and community information service in Australia comes several days after local news startup Nextdoor officially launched there.
As explained by Mumbrella, according to the expansion of Facebook’s ‘Today in’ news service in 10 Australian cities, Facebook users in these regions will be delivered with regular updates from ‘Today in’ news service, which can be appeared just like normal Facebook notifications that users already get and can underline the most popular and important headlines and information in their cities. It also added that this new option will appear alongside local news in Facebook’s current news feed and on publishers’ pages.
In commenting on the expansion, Facebook’s news partnership lead for Australia and New Zealand, Andrew Hunter, mentioned aspects that they depended on it to select those locations, he confirmed, “There were a few criteria. One was the size of the place, so we’re looking for places with up to 500,000 monthly Facebook users – small to medium-sized towns,” “We’re also looking at the amount of content that’s coming out of those geographies as well. How much news content is coming out on a daily basis, what sort of groups information there is, how active the groups are. Events are another part.”
Hunter also declined concerns that Facebook’s move would affect regional media already suffering from a lack of liquidity, “There’s no advertising in ‘today in’. We’re effectively using what is a new place on Facebook to effectively showcase local news information.”