Facebook scraps 'outdated' trending news section

Facebook killing controversial ‘Trending’ feature, breaking news alerts and more coming
Facebook is removing the the trending news feature next week
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02 June, 2018

In place of the Trending section, Facebook will focus on delivering high quality, reliable news via mobile and video, areas where it's seen users gravitate to get their news fix. He said algorithms are good for very narrow, well-defined tasks. Facebook also wants to make local news more prominent.

Facebook, ever eager avoid the liability that comes with being a publisher, said there was no bias.but nonetheless allowed that it "could not fully exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions or unintentional bias in the implementation of our guidelines or policies".

"We found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful", Alex Hardiman, Facebook's head of news products, wrote in a blog post this morning.

Facebook introduced a feature called Trending in 2014, and you can probably guess what it did even if you never touch Facebook.

Facebook's head of news products, Alex Hardiman, wrote in the announcement that the company is now testing a breaking news label that would put the power of editorial decisions in the hands of news organizations. First came a report that its human editors were biased against conservatives.

Instead, the software algorithm began to pick out posts that were getting the most attention, even if the information was bogus. The thinking was that coverage by just one outlet could be a sign that the news is fake.

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Trending is being pulled from Facebook next week and it will also remove products and third-party partner integrations that rely on the Trends API, the company said.

"Breaking news has to look different than a recipe", Hardiman said. It's being tested out in 30 markets in the U.S. Hardiman says the goal is to help "elevate great local journalism". It plans to launch this feature in the next few months.

Trending was only available in a handful of countries, and accounted for a paltry fraction of clicks through to news publishers, according to Hardiman.

Facebook says the trending section wasn't a popular feature to begin with. The Today In section, which is being piloted in 33 United States cities, is driving an average of 8 percent more traffic outbound from Facebook to the publishers themselves.

According to the Pew Research Centre, 44% of United States adults get some or all of their news through Facebook.


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