American online social media and social networking service company Facebook has announced that it is removing its “Trending” topics section, with effect from June 1.
Here is everything you need to know about the latest development:
1. In an official statement issued on Friday (June 1), Facebook Head of News Products Alex Hardiman said the social networking site is removing its “Trending” section.
2. This, he said, was done “to make way for future news experiences on Facebook”.
3. The “Trending” section was launched in 2014 to help users find news topics that were popular across the Facebook community.
4. However, it was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average.
5. Hardiman said with time they have found that this section was becoming less and less useful for Facebook users.
He said: “From research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful. We will remove Trending from Facebook next week and we will also remove products and third-party partner integrations that rely on the Trends API.”
6. Facebook is now considering new ways to keep people updated with breaking news.
“We’ve seen that the way people consume news on Facebook is changing to be primarily on mobile and increasingly through news video. So 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,” said Hardiman.
7. Facebook is now testing three new sections – Breaking News Label, Today In and News Video in Watch – that will be replacing “Trending”.
8. For Breaking News Label, Facebook is running a test with 80 publishers across North America, South America, Europe, India and Australia. This feature will allow publishers put a “breaking news” indicator on their posts in News Feed.
“We’re also testing breaking news notifications,” said Hardiman.
9. Facebook is also testing a dedicated section 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.
10. Hardiman was they will soon have a dedicated section on Facebook Watch in the US where people can view live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly deep dives that are exclusive to Watch.
11. Pertinently, the “Trending” section on Facebook came under scanner in 2016 after a report by Gizmodo alleged that the team suppressed conservative news.
12. The outburst post this allegation led Facebook chairman Mark Zuckerberg holding meeting with over 24 conservative leaders, including Glenn Beck, Dana Perino and Tucker Carlson, where he offered them an olive leaf.
13. The incident led to firing of editors of the “Trending” team, who were replaced with an automated process.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.