Facebook kills troubled 'trending' topics feature

Facebook kills troubled 'trending' topics feature

Facebook kills troubled 'trending' topics feature

Facebook Inc said on Friday it will remove the "Trending" topics feature that compiles popular news from its social network, as it seeks to ensure users see news from trustworthy and quality sources. Facebook responded to the backlash by removing humans from the equation, and relying purely on algorithms - which produced a different set of problems, like surfacing bogus news accounts, like the erroneous story about Fox News firing Megyn Kelly for supporting Hillary Clinton. The section, which appears to the right of the main news feed on the desktop and in search on mobile, has been a lightning rod for criticism nearly since its launch in 2014.

Facebook has occasionally gotten in trouble because of Trending, which could get confused and surface objectionable content and Fake News.

The algorithm-driven sidebar ultimately didn't serve its objective.

These new ways include a Breaking News label in the News Feed section for select publishers, a locally focused section that's being tested called Today In, and the addition of news video for USA users of Facebook Watch.

"We've seen that the way people consume news on Facebook is changing to be primarily on mobile and increasingly through news video", explained Alex Hardiman, head of news products, in a blog post. When asked by Quartz, a spokesperson would not comment on whether the traffic was higher when it was using human moderators. After Facebook fired those editors, the algorithms it replaced them with couldn't always distinguish real news from fake. In response, the company is investing in other news products, such as the "Breaking News" label, a local news tab, and news programs within Facebook Watch, its video service. During CEO Mark Zuckerberg's recent hearings before the US Congress and European Union parliament, purported prejudice against conservative-leaning posts was repeatedly brought up by lawmakers.


But the curation of trending news in the absence of human oversight led to more blowback and embarrassment.

In May, the social media giant announced that it would bring in former Sen.

Detailed in a press release, Facebook says that its trending feature was only available in select countries and didn't prove to be popular.

Hardiman said ending the trending section feels like letting a child go.

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