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Zuckerberg promises to show users more local news

Zuckerberg promises to show users more local news
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Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Public funds support proposal to remove Zuckerberg as Facebook chairman Obama responds to several excuses people give for not voting in new video MORE said Monday that Facebook will now start showing users more local news stories in their feeds — the latest in a string of reforms the company has announced this year.

“Local news helps build community — both on and offline,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post. “It's an important part of making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is valuable.”

Starting Monday, Zuckerberg said, local news stories shared by users or the news outlets themselves will show up higher in users’ feeds. The Facebook CEO suggested that promoting local news could lead to increased civic engagement and less polarization.

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The move comes as Facebook is trying to appease critics who think the platform has been enabling the spread of misinformation, particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

This month, Facebook has also said that it will soon begin prioritizing user content over posts from news outlets and other brands. It will also start ranking news publishers based on how much users trust them, prioritizing posts from outlets with high trust ratings.

Zuckerberg said the latest change is a response to what he heard from talking to people during his nationwide tour in 2017.

“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. “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.”

Earlier on Monday, Facebook announced a new set of privacy principles aimed at helping users understand how the social media giant handles their data and what they can do to shield their information from other users.

The principles include giving users control of their data and keeping it secure from hackers. Others state the company’s commitment to constantly improving their design and holding themselves accountable with user privacy in mind.