Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Facebook to pull plug on ‘Trending’ topics feature

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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.

The move, effective next week, comes at a time when the world’s largest social network is combating the spread of fake news on its platform, which has in some places become central to the distribution of news.

Trending accounted for less than 1.5 percent of clicks to news publishers on average, Facebook said in a blog post, adding the company was testing ways to display news including a ‘breaking news label’ and ‘today in’, a dedicated section for local news.

We’re removing Trending soon to make way for future news experiences on Facebook. We introduced Trending in 2014 as a way to help people discover news topics that were popular across the Facebook community. However, it was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average. From research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful. 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.

 

The quality of news on Facebook has been called into question after alleged Russian operatives, for-profit spammers and others spread false reports on the site, including during the 2016 U.S. election campaign.

Facebook had in the past few years made changes to the Trending topics feature to avoid ideological or political bias.

 

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