Facebook kills its ‘Trending’ section

Facebook is discontinuing its troubled

Facebook will remove its troubled "Trending Topics" section next week, the company said Friday, signaling that the controversial feature was better off dead as Facebook builds different products for news.

"We're exploring new ways to help people stay informed about timely, breaking news that matters to them, while making sure the news they see on Facebook is from trustworthy and quality sources", Alex Hardiman, Facebook's head of news products, said in a blog post.

These new ways include a Breaking News label in the News Feed section for select publishers, a locally focused section that's being tested called Today In, and the addition of news video for US users of Facebook Watch.

The California-based social network is also testing a "Today" section dedicated to "breaking and important news" from local publishers, officials and organizations, according to Hardiman.

To that end, Facebook is testing several new features, including a breaking news label for news outlets, breaking news notifications, a Today In section and more news coverage in Facebook Watch.

In late 2016, Facebook fired the human editors who worked on the trending topics and replaced them with software that was supposed to be free of political bias.

Removing the section comes as Facebook continues to grapple with questions of liberal bias, likely a remnant of the 2016 Trending controversy.

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According to the Pew Research Centre, 44% of USA adults get some or all of their news through Facebook.

Facebook is shutting down its ill-fated trending news section after four years, according to a company executive. It addressed fake news accusations by adding new labels and working with third-party groups to review the veracity of stories posted on the site.

Facebook didn't announce any plans to bring back Trending, or some version of it in the future.

He said the Trending feature would be removed "soon". Indeed, in its announcement, Facebook noted that the way people consume news on Facebook is changing.

And in almost the same breath, he then went on to admit that Facebook pays to "help produce content" - as it's doing now with these new news videos.

Detailed in a press release, Facebook says that its trending feature was only available in select countries and didn't prove to be popular.

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