Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Facebook scraps 'outdated' trending news section

Pete Mitchell | 02 June, 2018, 03:27

"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".

Facebook is done with Trending, though.

Facebook announced on Friday that it planned to remove Trending, a module on the right-hand side of Facebook's desktop site that shows news stories people are discussing and sharing.

Nonetheless, the dustup prompted inquiries from partisan legislators aghast at the thought of political bias.

The operational and algorithmic surgery evidently did not have the desired effect.

But they too presented problems and began surfacing fake news articles over the Trending section.

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

Facebook said it is testing new features, including a "breaking news" label that publishers can add to stories and ways to make local news more prominent.

These new ways include a Breaking News label in the News Feed section for select publishers, a locally focused section that's being tested called Today In, and the addition of news video for US users of Facebook Watch.

Facebook says it's exploring new ways to help people stay informed about up-to-the-minute news events including things like working with 80 publishers to add a new breaking news label to posts on in the News Feed. "We're also testing breaking news notifications". A perception that Facebook had editorial bias made leadership skittish about even creating the appearance it was suppressing news, which gave fake stories a clearer path to spread.

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 company says it's killing that feature next week in order to focus on other news features. It will also launch news videos like live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly deep dives in its Watch tab, the service's home base for video.

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

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