Facebook has decided to eliminate its “Trending” feature to make way for “future news experiences” which may include a breaking news notifications. “We will eliminate Trending out of Facebook next week and we will also eliminate products and third-party partner integrations that rely on the Trends API,” Alex Hardiman, Facebook’s Head of News Products said in a statement on Friday. Facebook introduced the Trending feature in 2014 planning to help people discover news issues which were popular throughout the entire world. However, for this feature that reveal an assortment of headlines, the social media giant soon faced allegations of political bias.
The headlines were originally selected by individual editors along with a former builder on the project claimed that Facebook utilized this feature to promote liberal causes and suppress conservative issues, NBC News reported. Facebook afterwards removed the human editors and in its own bid to seem neutral put in place an algorithm to decide what could find a location from the Trending section. However, the algorithm went haywire, at times promoting hoax tales and offensive headlines, such as one about a guy masturbating with a McDonald’s sandwich, the NBC News report said.
Facebook said that the feature was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5 per cent of clicks to information publishers on average. “From study we found that more than people found the product to be less and less useful,” Hardiman said. “We are exploring new ways to help people stay informed about timely, breaking news that matters to them, while ensuring the news they see Facebook is from quality and dependable sources,” she explained.
Facebook said it’s running an evaluation in many countries including in India to allow publishers place a”breaking news” index in their articles within News Feed. “We are also analyzing breaking news notifications,” Hardiman said.
In addition to the, Facebook is also testing a dedicated segment called”Now In” that connects individuals to the most recent breaking and important news from local publishers in their town, as well as updates from local officials and organisations. “We will shortly have a dedicated section on Facebook Watch in the US where people may see live policy, daily news briefings and weekly deep dives that are exclusive to See,” Hardiman added. “We are devoted to ensuring the news people see on Facebook is high quality, and we’re investing in ways to better draw attention to breaking information the moment it matters ,” she said.