Facebook just announced that it is removing the Trending section from the website. The company clarified that the reason it is removing this section from your profile is “to make way for future news experiences on Facebook”. The company initially launched the Trending section back in 2014 to help its users discover news that was popular across the website. Alex Hardiman, the head of News Products at Facebook added that this feature was available in five countries and the total number of engagement only accounted to less than 1.5 percent of clicks for publishers.
Hardiman went on to add that Facebook found out that its Trending section was becoming less and less useful with time. To clear the way, the company added that it will remove the section from the website next week. The removal is not limited to the section but it extends to any third-party partner integration or products that are using its Trends API.
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The research indicated that an increasing number of people are consuming news on mobile through news videos. Hardiman added that the company is “exploring new ways” to ensure that its users are informed about “breaking news that matters to them” while ensuring that the news they see on the platform comes “from trustworthy and quality sources”.
Facebook is testing a “Breaking News” label with 80 publishers across North and South America, India, Europe, and Australia. This allows news publishers to put a “breaking news” indicator on their posts in the news feed along with “breaking news” notifications. It is also working on a new section “Today In” where the social media giant will let its users catch up with all the breaking news as it happens along with important topics from local publishers for their city. The section will also include posts done by local officials and organizations.
Last but not the least, Facebook will have a dedicated section Facebook “Watch” in the US. Users on the platform can visit this section to watch the live coverage, weekly deep dives and daily news briefings. We think that it is about time that Facebook took down its Trending section. The reason for this is because Trending section has been the center of a number of controversies with fake news topping the chart. Facebook struggled in past with how to moderate the section between the option to leave it governed by human editors or let its algorithms take care of the section.