The trending topics section is being shut down by Facebook. This is a feature that the company had created to highlight some and all of the interesting conversations hat tale place on the social media platform. however, it has now turned out to be a feature that has become political headache for the company that runs the largest social media platform in the world.
The company has announced on Friday that the feature would be completely stopped by it starting next week.
“It was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average,” Alex Hardiman, head of news products at Facebook, said in a blog post on Frieday.
“From research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful,” Hardiman added.
The aim of the trending topics section was to help users “discover the best content from all across Facebook” and this feature was officially launched by the company in 2014. A similar feature is also run by Twitter.
However, there were allegations against Facebook sometime in 2016 by an anonymous former Facebook contractor about the misuse of the feature by the company. In the allegation, the anonymous contractor had claimed that the employees at Facebook intentionally suppressed news about “popular conservative topics” to be put up in the trending section.
An uproar over the allegations were later attempted to be diffused by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, in his meeting with conservative commentators and leaders. Later on, Facebook also made use of algorithms instead of human moderators who were earlier used for the trending section.
It has been more than a year that Facebook has been facing severe criticisms of its handling and management of fake new and election meddling by foreign parties on its platform. this latest decision to bring an end to the trending section of Facebook clearly indicates the rethinking that is ongoing inside the company to manage issues like fake news.
Changes in the personal News Feed was made by Facebook where the company set priority to publish and show posts that originate from friends, family members and groups to be shown in the section instead of publishers and brands. This change was made in January this year. more of local news stories is being promoted more by Facebook now. The social media platform is also allowing users to rank the trustworthiness of various publications.
A new option is now being tested by Facebook where 80 publishers across the world are involved. In this possible new feature, users and publishers would be able to place a “breaking news” label on their posts in the News Feed.
(Adapted from Money.CNN.com)