Facebook Is Killing Off Its Trending News Section

Gerardo Harmon
June 3, 2018

It was available only in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to the websites of news publishers.

A 3D-printed Facebook like button is seen in front of the Facebook logo, in this illustration taken October 25, 2017.

Of course, Facebook will still offer you access to news, including trending and breaking news. Facebook faced accusations of political bias in the surfacing of news stories.

"From research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful", Hardiman wrote in a post.

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

The section, which launched in 2014, was created to help people quickly find interesting topics on Facebook. Facebook also ditched human moderators for the section and relied instead on algorithms. Finally, Facebook will soon introduce News Video in Watch for its users in the US. In 2016, an unidentified former Facebook staffer claimed that the team that curated Trending topics regularly suppressed news stories with a conservative slant, Gizmodo reported. The company has not yet revealed the criteria they used to select the 80 publishers now testing the breaking news label, nor whether the feature will eventually be rolled out to all major news publications.

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.

As a result of increased news consumption on mobile devices - and increased news video consumption - the social media giant said that it's now exploring new ways to keep its users informed. It turns out that Trending wasn't as popular as Facebook would have hoped, and that's why it's removing the feature.

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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.

Hardiman provided some examples of what the site may replace the section with in the near future.

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.

According to Hardiman, Facebook will soon have a dedicated section on Facebook Watch in the US where people can view live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly features that will be exclusive to Watch.

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