Facebook kills its ‘Trending’ section

02 June, 2018, 00:30 | Author: Juana Mckenzie
  • Facebook killing controversial ‘Trending’ feature, breaking news alerts and more coming

Facebook is discontinuing its troubled "trending" section, the social network announced Friday.

"So we're exploring new ways to help people stay informed about timely, breaking news that matters to them, while making sure the news they see on Facebook is from trustworthy and quality sources", she said. The company also will add a section called Facebook Watch where users can view live news coverage along with other content.

"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. Yes, it shows trending news stories.

Facebook is shutting down its ill-fated trending news section after four years, according to a company executive. "We will remove Trending from Facebook next week and we will also remove products and third-party partner integrations that rely on the Trends API".

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The "breaking news" tag, which is being tested by 80 publishers, has caused a 4 percent increase in people clicking through links and an 11 percnent lift in people sharing those stories.

In 2016, reports surfaced that the Trending section suppressed conservative news stories.

In late 2016, Facebook fired the human editors who worked on trending topics and replaced them with software that was supposed to be free of political bias.

Media analysts have argued that Facebook's reaction to claims of anti-conservative bias led the company to take a more lax approach to the Russian disinformation campaign.

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"Breaking news has to look different than a recipe", Hardiman said. However, the company declined to provide a list of publishers or details on the funding. It plans to launch this feature in the next few months.

Facebook said the feature was only available in five countries and accounted for roughly 1.5 percent of the traffic to news publishers' sites. Lawmakers in Congress and in Europe have raised the possibility of drafting new regulations to address Facebook's privacy violations.

While Facebook got attention for the problems the trending section had - perhaps because it seemed popular with journalists - neither its existence nor its removal makes much difference in regards to Facebook's broader problems with news.

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