Facebook tests alerts from local governments and first responders

The tech giant is also expanding its local news section.

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Facebook wants to make it easier for its users to find real-time information when a disaster or emergency strikes. 

The world's largest social network said Wednesday that more than 100 local governments and first responders with Facebook Pages are testing "local alerts."

Users would see a local alert label in their News Feed and "Today In," a local news section Facebook started testing earlier this year.


A local alert sent from the City of Charlotte Government's Facebook page during Hurricane Florence. 


"People tell us it is important to receive timely, local updates in situations that directly affect them or that require them to take action, such as major road closures, blackouts or natural disasters," Anthea Watson Strong, Facebook's product manager for local news and community information, said in a blog post

Social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, are playing a bigger role during disaster response. But the tech companies also have to combat misinformation, scams and fake photos that could go viral online. 

During Hurricane Florence in September, the City of Charlotte Government in North Carolina posted a local alert from its Facebook page. 

Facebook is also expanding its local news section in more cities. The feature, available in more than 400 cities in the US, is also being tested in Australia and communities that have a low amount of local news. Users can see if "Today In" is available in their area with this interactive map

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