Facebook Removes ‘Trending’ Section From Its Platform

06 June, 2018, 12:50 | Author: Patty Hardy
  • Facebook killing controversial ‘Trending’ feature, breaking news alerts and more coming

Facebook launched Trending as a way to help people discover popular news topics on the social network.

Active since 2014, the section highlighted three top news stories trending across the platform, though how Facebook decided which news items to include there often came under scrutiny. It was also available on the Facebook app.

The company Friday said the feature, which it intends to remove next week, became less useful over time, and that removing it would "make way for future news experiences" on the platform.

This is probably a good step for Facebook; trending news has always been considered an unimportant element in social media that is most prone to manipulating users.

Facebook said that it's now running a test with "80 publishers across North America, South America, Europe, India and Australia" that allows publishes to attach a breaking news label to verified posts.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg denied all claims of an-inbuilt bias.

And in almost the same breath, he then went on to admit that Facebook pays to "help produce content" - as it's doing now with these new news videos.

"It's very good to get rid of 'trending, '" said Frank Pasquale, a law professor at the University of Maryland and expert on algorithms and society. "News Video in Watch" will allow people to see live coverage, daily news briefings and exclusive content.

But what needs to happen now, he added, is a broad shift in the company's corporate culture, recognizing the expertise involved in journalistic judgment.

In place of the fated feature, Facebook says it's now developing better ways to share news with its more than 2.1 billion users. The company is considering putting up a breaking news section in its place. Facebook's official spokesperson has just confirmed that the company is shutting down the Trending Topics section in the Facebook. And, because algorithms are not flawless, they repeatedly goofed up, allowing fake news stories to spread across the network by highlighting factually inaccurate links that were going viral as well as other inappropriate content. Because they are already testing another feature named as Breaking News. The changes and features Facebook is putting out, he said, are being treated as "bug fixes" - addressing single problems the way engineers do. Facebook fired the team, and since then, algorithms have been largely responsible for governing what goes into the Trending sidebar, which is prominently displayed at the top of the desktop site.

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