Power Map – Facebook can’t find enough local news for its local news service

Francis Lanzano Contributor
Power Map – Facebook can’t find enough local news for its local news service
Read Time: approx. 1:10

Welcome to Power Maps from Tag The Flag where we zoom out to provide unique insights about our country and the world. These graphical representations are meant to help us make sense of our surroundings and visualize themes, trends, and topics in our borders and beyond.


Engadget – Facebook hoped to help people across the US stay more informed about local news, information and events when it launched its Today In feature in November. But Facebook says it’s having trouble finding enough news to feed into the service — in part because it hastened the demise of hundreds of local newspapers.

In the past decade, hundreds of local US newspapers have closed or merged according to the BBC. “About 1,800 local papers have closed or merged since 2004, according to data from researchers at University of North Carolina. The reasons for newspaper closures are well-known – internet advertising destroying the traditional business models, readers moving towards more online and more free news.”

Recode – “About one in three users in the U.S. live in places where we cannot find enough local news on Facebook to launch Today In,” Facebook wrote in a blog post-Monday in which it’s promoting a new journalism initiative. Specifically, that means Facebook hasn’t been able to find “five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns” in any of the past 28 days. That qualifies those areas as a “news desert,” according to Facebook.

What does a lack of local news actually look like? Facebook published a map to show where local “news deserts” exist across the country.

Facebook Today In local news availability map

Map Source: Facebook