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Facebook says it will prioritize local news posts

FILE - In this April 18, 2017, file photo, conference workers speak in front of a demo booth at Facebook's annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif. Facebook said Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, that it is tweaking what people see to make their time on it more “meaningful.” The changes come as Facebook faces criticism that social media can make people feel depressed and isolated. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

SELMA, Ala. (AP) — Facebook plans to prioritize posts from local news sources in the news feeds of people who live in the communities served by those outlets, the company said Monday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told The Selma Times-Journal on Monday that the decision stems from a cross-country tour he took with his wife in which he spoke with people in communities of different sizes. They visited the small community newspaper in Alabama on last year's trip.

Zuckerberg told the newspaper people consistently told him they wanted more local news on Facebook. Zuckerberg said the prioritization of local news sources is part of an effort to help people engage with the communities where they live.

"There's a lot of research that suggests that people who read local news are more engaged in their community and they're more likely to engage in civic improvements," Zuckerberg told the newspaper. "The more informed you are about issues in your community, the more empowered you are to get involved and make a change."

The Menlo Park, California, company said in a news release that it identifies local publishers as those clicked on by readers in tight geographic areas.

"If a story is from a publisher in your area, and you either follow the publisher's Page or your friend shares a story from that outlet, it might show up higher in News Feed," the release said.

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