Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Industry | By Johnnie Johnson

Facebook is shutting down its notorious 'trending' feature

The Today In section, which is being piloted in 33 USA cities, is driving an average of 8 percent more traffic outbound from Facebook to the publishers themselves.

Facebook said it was experimenting with other news products, including a section called Today In that includes breaking and local news.

It's unusual for a site that's used for search, like Facebook, to not manage a trending section. Ultimately, the tool appears to have created more headaches for Facebook than it was actually worth to the company.

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Hardiman said that Facebook will remove the trending section next week. During CEO Mark Zuckerberg's recent hearings before the US Congress and European Union parliament, purported prejudice against conservative-leaning posts was repeatedly brought up by lawmakers.

The Trending section is no longer trending among Facebook users.

The section, which appears to the right of the main news feed on the desktop and in search on mobile, has been a lightning rod for criticism nearly since its launch in 2014.

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The company Friday said the feature, which it intends to remove next week, became less useful over time, and that removing it would "make way for future news experiences" on the platform.

The quality of news on Facebook has been called into question after alleged Russian operatives, for-profit spammers and others spread false reports on the site, including during the 2016 US election campaign. And, because algorithms are not ideal, they repeatedly goofed up, allowing fake news stories to spread across the network by highlighting factually inaccurate links that were going viral as well as other inappropriate content.

Testing is underway for a "breaking news" label with 80 news publishers worldwide, said the company. "And we're investing in ways to better draw attention to breaking news when it matters most".

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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. More problematic was the feature's tendency to spread fake news, particularly during the 2016 presidential election, The Associated Press noted. Facebook Watch will soon have a dedicated section for live news coverage.

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