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Facebook calls time on 'trending' feature

Facebook is to say goodbye to its trending feature / Facebook newsroom

Facebook has announced plans to cull its ‘trending’ feature claiming it has become less useful to users over time.

Introduced in 2014, trending was designed to help people find news and interesting topics on Facebook quickly, but has run into trouble over the years, notably in 2016 after allegations the trending team suppressed conservative news.

Announcing the news via a blog post, Alex Hardiman, Facebook’s head of news products, said: “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.”

Facebook replaced its trending editors with automation in 2017 but the lack of human oversight led to more errors with algorithms promoting 9/11 conspiracy theories, fake and parody news. Recently, Facebook has launched several initiatives to tackle concerns over political bias, misinformation and political advertising.

In addition to removing trending, Hardiman also revealed 80 publishers would be testing a ‘breaking news’ label they can pin to articles as Facebook experiments with a breaking news notification, a section dedicated to breaking local news and a video feature for American users to watch live coverage and weekly reports.

Trending will be removed from this week.