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Facebook to swap ‘trending’ topics for breaking news
02 June 2018, 12:29 | Deanna Wagner
Facebook is removing the the trending news feature next week
The company didn't provide a time frame for when Facebook's news-focused video hub would go live, but said that "soon" 10 to 12 USA publishers will be launching news shows in Watch, focused on live coverage of breaking events, daily shows and weekly shows. It also proved problematic in ways that hinted at Facebook's later problems with fake news, political balance and the limitations of AI in managing the human world. In answer, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company had found no evidence of this, but insisted steps would be taken to remedy the situation if evidence emerged.
Facebook, ever eager avoid the liability that comes with being a publisher, said there was no bias.but nonetheless allowed that it "could not fully exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions or unintentional bias in the implementation of our guidelines or policies".
In early 2017, Facebook made another attempt to fix the trending section by including only topics covered by several news publishers.
The operational and algorithmic surgery evidently did not have the desired effect. Facebook is done with Trending, though.
"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". The feature accounted for an average of less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers from. Indeed, in its announcement, Facebook noted that the way people consume news on Facebook is changing.
Eighty publishers around the world now have access to the tool, which allows them to add a label that indicates a story is "breaking".
"We found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful", Alex Hardiman, Facebook's head of news products, wrote in a blog post this morning.
According to the Pew Research Centre, 44% of U.S. adults get some or all of their news through Facebook.
"Breaking news has to look different than a recipe", Hardiman said.
Facebook will also introduce a new section on Facebook Watch, the platform's on-demand video service, that will show exclusive "live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly deep dives, ' according to Hardiman".
Facebook says the trending section wasn't a popular feature to begin with.
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