Facebook is giving a human touch to its Events feature, with the launch of ‘Featured Events’. As the name suggests, it will recommend you a list of local things happening in a city. But unlike Facebook’s existing Events’ pages, instead of a computer algorithm, a separate team of Facebook will decide this list.
The team will curate this list in each city by regularly reviewing events in the city. These events include local art, entertainment, family, festival, fitness, food and drink, learning, community, music and sports. Facebook claims that as many as 550 million people use Facebook Events each month, and this new feature will further drive the engagement.
Explaining the new feature, Facebook Events product manager Aditya Koolwal said,
You can think about it like a weekend or weekly digest of cool stuff that you can do in your city.
The team will consider events for Featured Events list based on their appeal, location, and capacity. So, the team will look for events that are appealing to lots of people instead of a particular interest group.
What we do is have a team of people who are basically looking at events on Facebook that have broad appeal, that a lot of people could go to, and they’re highlighting ones they think will be good to list out,
Moreover, it will also consider the scale of the event so as to not to gate crash any private party or gathering by making them viral on featured events.
Facebook has also taken care of few precautions to prevent any controversy. It won’t be featuring any event based on politics or worship. Notably, Facebook came under a huge controversy in May when it was accused of suppressing conservative stories in Trending Topics.
Commenting on the same, Koolwal said,
After trending we’ve learned a lot. The team at Facebook is focused on featuring a variety of entertaining events and will not include events primarily focused on politics or worship.
Facebook has also made it clear that it won’t discriminate among events on the basis of ads. Hence, it is not necessary that if an event is running a Facebook ad, it will get listed in Featured Events category.
However, it has not completely ruled out the possibility of selling sponsored ads in Featured Events for earning revenues in future.
For now, Facebook is rolling out Featured Events feature to Facebook iOS app users in 10 US cities. These include Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Based on the response, the company can expand it to other cities.