SEVERE WX: Winter Storm Watch View Alerts
CLOSINGS: View Closings

Facebook is shutting down trending topics feature

Facebook is shutting down its trending topics section, a feature that was intended to highlight interesting conversat...

Posted: Jun. 1, 2018 4:22 PM
Updated: Jun. 1, 2018 4:22 PM

Facebook is shutting down its trending topics section, a feature that was intended to highlight interesting conversations on the platform but ended up creating political headaches for the company.

The section will be removed from Facebook next week, the company said Friday.

"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 Friday. "From research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful."

The trending topics section officially launched in 2014 with the promise of helping users "discover the best content from all across Facebook." It was similar to a feature offered by Twitter.

But in 2016, an anonymous former Facebook contractor alleged that colleagues at the company suppressed news about "popular conservative topics" from the trending section.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, later met with conservative commentators and leaders to defuse an uproar over the allegations. Facebook also ditched human moderators for the section and relied instead on algorithms.

Related: Facebook to show more content from friends, less from publishers and brands

The decision to eliminate the section is the latest example of Facebook rethinking how news is presented on its platform after more than a year of criticism over fake news and election meddling.

In January, Facebook changed the News Feed to prioritize posts from friends, family members and groups over posts from publishers and brands. Facebook is also promoting more local news stories and letting users rank the trustworthiness of various publications.

While the trending topics will disappear, Facebook is currently testing a new option with 80 publishers around the world to place a "breaking news" label on their posts in the News Feed.

Article Comments

Mason City
Clear
18° wxIcon
Hi: 19° Lo: 7°
Feels Like: 11°
Albert Lea
Clear
16° wxIcon
Hi: 17° Lo: 8°
Feels Like: 9°
Austin
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 20° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 21°
Charles City
Clear
18° wxIcon
Hi: 20° Lo: 7°
Feels Like: 18°
Rochester
Clear
14° wxIcon
Hi: 18° Lo: 8°
Feels Like: 4°
We're tracking a messy wintry mixture lasting through the weekend.
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Local brewery needs people to stop bringing in outside alcohol

Image

Another snowfall another clean up

Image

Tracking a Wintry Mess for the Weekend

Image

Free sleds

Image

Hy-Vee sled giveaway

Image

Mohawks, local teams headed to state

Image

Updates coming to RST

Image

New Rochester Police Captain

Image

Clearing snow out of the Cul-de-sacs

Image

RST Taxi license revoked

Community Events