Facebook will remove the Trending topics section next week

Facebook will remove the Trending news box that’s sat to the right of the desktop News Feed for the last four years, the company said today. The removal comes after years of criticism around how Facebook picked stories to sit in the Trending box, not to mention more than a year of struggles with the reliability of any news being distributed through its platform.

The Trending box will be removed next week. Facebook says it was active in five countries and accounted for “less than 1.5 percent of clicks to news publishers on average.” The company is currently testing other ways to deliver news, including breaking news labels and a section that collects local stories.

Backlash against the Trending box started in 2016 after Gizmodo published a report saying that former Facebook editors — who were able to curate headlines, to a degree — claimed they “routinely suppressed” conservative stories. That allegations seem tame in light of everything that happened next (the entire platform was co-opted for frequently conservative propaganda), but it led to Facebook firing its editorial team and was in many ways a precursor to some of the rethinking it’s been doing on news distribution.

On top of all that, the Trending box was just bad. It’s been a long-running joke that Facebook runs a day behind Twitter when it comes to news and jokes, and the Trending section rarely helped matters. The system does seem to have gotten faster at picking up stories over time, but it’s still hard to imagine it being the place someone learns about a major story.

Facebook says the removal of Trending will “make way” for future news products. It’s not clear if that means it’s planning something else for the side of the News Feed, or if it just means that it’s taking a different approach to distributing news in the first place.

Comments

A Good Idea: Facebook stops involving itself with media and news entirely.

If only.

They’ll just happen to implement something before the election that’s easily gamed. Then they’ll say it didn’t swing anyone’s vote, even though many voters change their minds easily in the last week. Then they’ll slowly admit they screwed up. Then they’ll feel terrible about it and make changes. Then they’ll answer friendly questions in front of people they just helped elect. Then they’ll do it again.

That’s essentially what happened last year. They didn’t do anything to filter content, so click bait fake news overtook legit news.

No involvement creates other problems.

If only they kept humans in charge…

No. I mean they don’t get involved with news at all, even in an automated way.

I think they mean posts from users.

but it led to Facebook firing its editorial team

And replaced them with an algorithm that made it easy for real "fake" news (not what conservatives call outlets that disagree with their options, I mean legit fake "not-real" news) to spread like wildfire.

It’s a great idea, but I will only sign up for Facebook again once they get out of the news business completely. Bring back the Facebook of 2007-2011 and we’ll talk. Oh and remove all those dumb games too.

That FB doesn’t create money….

Why do we care?

I mean, as a user, you want them to make money. Otherwise someone else pays to keep the lights on and pay for staff. Because if they can’t create it on their own, they’ll take money from outside sources and then, hey, we’re talking about Facebook pushing agendas (this time of whoever is sponsoring them) again.

I mean, as a user, you want them to make money.

That’s true, but I am no longer a user because of the choice they made to put revenue above the user experience.

That’s essentially what happened last year. They didn’t do anything to filter content, so click bait fake news overtook legit news.

No involvement creates other problems.

You aren’t getting pre-publicly-traded Facebook back. Sorry. Just move on to the part of the web that doesn’t make everybody miserable and leave Facebook to the tormented souls who can’t quit.

Good riddance.

I never looked at that. In fact, if you had asked me if there was a trending news section on Facebook, I wouldn’t have even been able to answer that with certainty from memory. I never look at the twitter trending stuff either. I’m not really on social media to keep up with trends.

"Keep up with friends, not trends". Slogan for new social network? Pay 1 USD/EUR a year and no ads, nothing. Enough users, profit. Yeah for me it’s just a place for Events and Groups as everyone is there so it makes it easy. Been at least a year since I scrolled through the feed. Junk posts from those who just can’t stop posting and especially sharing every damn post they find a little interesting personally and has the urge to share it with God and everybody, like a photo with a flower background, some quote, usually incorrect, edited, taken out of context and x person never said that, ads, people liking commercial companies pages so I see ads from x company since being friend of person who liked it (and they have no clue all their friends then have to put up with ads from company pages they like, usually increasing the ad number as it is seen more relevant – I’ve turned all personalized ads off) of course and click bait from news outlets and videos which has a headline way cooler than the video itself and people sharing before watching since shared by other friend etc.

And man are people happy when I show them how to turn off autoplay of videos. It’s almost always a trap to stop you from scrolling through irrelevant content, even if shared by a friend and no ad.

I really wish I could customize Facebook more. I literally only want to see pictures and updates from friends and loved ones. I don’t want to see what they think is important, I don’t want to see what they think I want to see, I want to tell them what I want to see and how I want it displayed.

Exactly. I’d pay quite a few bucks for that a year easily, keeping all useful functionality like Events and Groups, but because paying no ads, no shared from others content like news articles and photos with inaccurate quotes they personally find interesting, and not seeing ads/campaigns from companies because friends have liked their company Facebook page (most don’t understand that this makes all you’re other friends see ads from those companies, increasing the total ads amount as it’s seen more "relevant" then, "personalized", at least for a user like me who has all ways of personalized ads off where possible, from the service to the various North Western continents’ (including Australia) official opt out programmes (per web browser).


Extremely Meta Content

Can’t remember ever seeing this trending box.

Me either but wasn’t in many countries as written. Although I basically never go to the feed on Facebook (on desktop bookmarks directly to groups and events).

Maybe Facebook could get a Facelift instead. Isn’t the site rather dated looking?

Twitter has basically won the war for news.

Good, Facebook should leave the news business. When Facebook decided to become a news service, they invariably invited topics like government, politics, ideological bullshit, etc, but since they have zero moderation or rules, all that ended up happening was whoever could shout the loudest and with the most outrageous lies.

Here’s the solution: limit the share button. If accounts are new, have low track records, or a history with fake news, limit their posts visibility in the newsfeed and stop them from being shared after a certain number. Once they have an established record, their shares increase; if they drop fake news, drop their posts.

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