25 More Cities Are Being Added to Facebook’s Today In Local News Test

The social network is also experimenting with alerts from first responders

Today In is accessible via the more menu in Facebook’s app Facebook
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Facebook added 25 more U.S. cities to the test group for its Today In destination for local news.

The social network began testing Today In with mobile users in six U.S. cities in January—Billings, Mont.; Binghamton, N.Y.; Little Rock, Ark.; New Orleans; Olympia, Wash.; and Peoria, Ill.—and local news product manager Anthea Watson Strong announced in a Facebook Media blog post that the test would be expanded over the next few weeks.

Today In is accessible via the more menu in Facebook’s flagship mobile applications for users in the test cities, or they can opt in to receive daily updates of the most popular Today In updates in their News Feeds.

Types of content available via Today In include weather, updates from community organizations (volunteer opportunities, local crime, safety, other community information), recent news stories from local publishers with Facebook pages, events, discussions in groups and local community groups to join.

Strong added, “We plan to experiment with new types of content by adding new features to show on Today In, including breaking news, local alerts and school information.”

She also detailed “a small test in a select number of cities” where Today In is available of enabling first-responder pages to issue local alerts on Facebook, writing: “This test is not meant to replace emergency alert systems; rather, it is an additional way to provide information about a post. Pages participating in the test will apply the local alert indicator to posts at their discretion and will be limited to label one post per day, setting the time for how long the post is marked as a local alert (up to six hours). This indicator will not affect the ranking of the post in News Feed.”

The 25 cities being added to the Today In test are:

  • Anderson, S.C.
  • Bismarck, N.D.
  • Bloomington, Ill.
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Charleston, W. Va.
  • Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Columbia, S.C.
  • Decatur, Ill.
  • Franklin, Tenn.
  • Evansville, Ind.
  • Greensboro, N.C.
  • Greenville, S.C.
  • Huntsville, Ala.
  • Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
  • Lafayette, La.
  • Lakeland, Fla.
  • Macon, Ga.
  • Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  • Santa Rosa, Calif.
  • Sarasota, Fla.
  • St. Joseph, Mo.
  • San Angelo, Texas
  • Shreveport, La.
  • Tyler, Texas
  • York, Pa.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.