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Facebook is killing its "Trending" feature, proving algorithms aren’t always the answer

02 June, 2018, 03:25 | Author: Janis Wilson
  • Facebook killing controversial ‘Trending’ feature, breaking news alerts and more coming

Facebook on Friday said that it will scrap its "trending" topics news section next week and introduce a new "breaking news" label available for posts.

"We are committed to ensuring the news that people see on Facebook is high quality", Hardiman said.

The Trending section has also been mired in controversy.

The contractor claimed Facebook downplayed conservative issues and promoted liberal causes.

Hardiman said that ending the trending feature feels like letting a child go but Facebook's focus is prioritising trustworthy, informative news that people find useful.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, later met with conservative commentators and leaders to defuse an uproar over the allegations.

Trending Topics was one of those Facebook features that seemed sensible on paper, but in practice turned out to be a major headache for the company.

More news: Roseanne Canceled Due to Roseanne Barr's "Repugnant" Tweet

When Facebook launched "trending" in 2014 as a list of headlines appearing at the side of the main news feed, it aimed to steal users from Twitter by offering them a quick look at the most popular news stories.

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.

Facebook also is testing a "breaking news" label with 80 publishers across North America, South America, Europe, India and Australia along with breaking-news notifications.

Pasquale said Facebook's new efforts represent "very slow steps" toward an acknowledgement that the company is making editorial judgments when it decides what news should be shown to users - and that it needs to empower journalists and editors to do so. Facebook faced accusations of political bias in the surfacing of news stories. The changes and features Facebook is putting out, he said, are being treated as "bug fixes" - addressing single problems the way engineers do.

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

Today In: We're testing a dedicated section on Facebook called Today In that connects people to the latest breaking and important news from local publishers in their city, as well as updates from local officials and organizations.

The site is also reportedly working on a live coverage news section as part of Facebook Watch. More problematic was the feature's tendency to spread fake news, particularly during the 2016 presidential election, The Associated Press noted.

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