One of the most important, if not the most important, goals of The Resistance movement is to get people to participate in local politics rather than just voting every four years in presidential elections. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears to be taking this seriously, because on Monday, he announced that the site would begin showing users more news from outlets in their own towns and cities.
“People consistently tell us they want to see more local news on Facebook,” he wrote in a post on the site. “Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives. Research suggests that reading local news is directly correlated with civic engagement. People who know what’s happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference.”
The update would start right away.
A November 2016 study by the Pew Research Center backs up what Zuckerberg wrote about the consumption of local news impacting how engaged voters are with elections and issues in their communities. Out of the 27% of adults who said they always vote in local elections, 52% of them said they follow local news closely. It makes sense — if you know what’s going in your town, you’re more likely to care about what’s happening and therefore vote.
This is the latest attempt on Facebook’s part to get its act together after the overwhelming proof that the American public’s views during the 2016 election were highly impacted by the rampant fake news, Russian-linked ads, and bot accounts on the site. In November, they notified users who’d been exposed to this kind of content that it had happened. The company also plans on hiring 10,000 employees who will be dedicated to combating these problems and ensuring the security of everyone on the platform.