Facebook killing controversial ‘Trending’ feature, breaking news alerts and more coming

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Facebook fired its human curators in response, saying at the time that it hoped to automate the Trending section.

"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", she said. The company is simultaneously experimenting with a breaking-news notification, a section dedicated to breaking local news, and a video feature for American users to watch live coverage and weekly reports.

"We've seen that the way people consume news on Facebook is changing to be primarily on mobile and increasingly through news video", Hardiman wrote in the Facebook blog post. And, because algorithms are not flawless, they repeatedly goofed up, allowing fake news stories to spread across the network by highlighting factually inaccurate links that were going viral as well as other inappropriate content.

Hardiman said that Facebook will remove the trending section next week.

The section, which launched in 2014, was created to help people quickly find interesting topics on Facebook.

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

Facebook is now testing new features, including a "breaking news" label that publishers can add to stories to distinguish them from other chatter.

"Breaking news has to look different than a recipe", Hardiman said.

Conservatives have often charged Facebook with being biased against them, grilling Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the issue in an April hearing. It's being tested in 30 markets in the US. The section, which appears to the right of the main news feed on the desktop and in search on mobile, has been a lightning rod for criticism nearly since its launch in 2014. It plans to launch this feature in the next few months. However, the company declined to provide a list of publishers or details on the funding.

Facebook says the trending section was never popular.

Trending was introduced in 2014 but was intensely controversial from the beginning.

The company instead said it will explore new news related projects like letting publishers include a "breaking news" label on their posts in Facebook's newsfeed.