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A team of Facebook employees will soon suggest events for you to attend off of Facebook

It’s like “Time Out: Facebook.”

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Facebook has long argued that it’s not a publisher — it’s a platform for other publishers to share and distribute their stories and photos and videos.

But Facebook has slowly gotten more publisher-like, doing things like paying media companies to create video content or letting employees sift through trending topics and write story headlines. That didn’t go super well.

Now it’s taking another small step into the world of publishing: On Monday, it unveiled a human-curated “featured events” list for users in ten of the biggest cities in the United States, including New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

Facebook already “suggests” events to users, but those suggestions are determined by a computer algorithm. This new “featured” events list will be “created by a team at Facebook” — a team of human beings — which means Facebook will soon be doing the same thing that newspapers and magazines have been doing for decades, which is using editorial judgement to publish things it thinks you should know about.

This is, in the grand scheme of Facebook, a small change. It’s likely most people won’t even notice. But Facebook says 550 million people use its events feature, so some people will.

And whether you notice of not, it’s a step toward Facebook taking more control over what you see, and maybe even what you do offline. And in case you’re wondering if Facebook learned anything from the Trending stories debacle that consumed the entire month of May, in which the company was accused of suppressing conservative news stories, it did. Facebook says its featured events list “will not include events primarily focused on politics or worship.”

Facebook also says that it will not give special treatment or placement to events from Facebook advertisers. So you can’t pay to play here, Facebook says.

If you live in one of these cities, you’ll be able to check out featured events starting on Monday: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.


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