Monday, 22 October, 2018

Facebook to Drop Trending-Topics Feature

Facebook killing controversial ‘Trending’ feature, breaking news alerts and more coming Facebook is removing the the trending news feature next week
Nina Mathis | 02 June, 2018, 03:29

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg promised some big changes would be coming to the social network in 2018.

Facebook is done with Trending, though.

But that was then.

In May, the social media giant announced that it would bring in former Sen.

Breaking News Label: A test we're running with 80 publishers across North America, South America, Europe, India and Australia lets publishers put a "breaking news" indicator on their posts in News Feed.

Facebook and other social media platforms have been criticized for their role in allowing disinformation to spread during the 2016 United States election, in many cases with the help of automated "bots" or disguised Russian-based accounts. By contrast, he said, deciding what news stories should go in "trending" requires broad thinking, quick judgments about context and decisions about whether someone is trying to game the system.

"Since Facebook removed human reviewers from its news section, the algorithm has sometimes promoted misleading, false, or highly partisan content, serving it to millions of users", Nina Jankowicz, a disinformation expert and fellow at the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, told NPR. Yet two years later, Facebook still hasn't been able to shake the notion of bias. Instead, the software algorithm began to pick out posts that were getting the most attention, even if the information in them was bogus.




The trending section has proved problematic in several important ways. But over time, the section failed to gain much traction among users, the company said Friday.

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.

One reason the feature is so little used could be that it's not immediately visible on Facebook's app or mobile version, where most people use the site.

Facebook appears to have concluded that trying to fix the headaches caused by the trending section was not worth the meagre benefits the company, users and news publishers saw in it.

"Breaking news has to look different than a recipe", Hardiman said.

Another feature, called Today In shows people breaking news in their area from local publishers, officials and organisations. Facebook Watch will soon have a dedicated section for live news coverage. It plans to launch this feature in the next few months. The company says it's killing that feature next week in order to focus on other news features.

However, it was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average. Facebook's Alex Hardiman explained, "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".

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