Facebook is going to shut down its “Trending Topic” feature that displays hot topics people are discussing across the website.
According to the official Blogspot, the social media giant announced on Friday that it is removing “Trending Topic” feature next week. The feature was launched back in 2014 to discover new topics that are popular across the Facebook community just like Twitter does. Back then, when it was launched, it was claimed that the feature would give a quick review to look into the topics that are most popular across the Facebook community. Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg named the feature as “Personal Newspaper”.
Now, the company claims that the feature is outdated, underused and a major source of scandals like electoral tempering on the social media platform. The feature was initially controlled by journalists but in 2016 automated system and algorithms took over the charge. Since then, the feature was polluted by different conspiracy theories, political imbalance and, false information that gave rise to various controversies across the platform. Facebook says the trending section was never popular that much. It was available only in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to the websites of news publishers.
Facebook is killing the trending section for good, it is, however, testing new features, including a “breaking news” label that publishers can add to stories to distinguish them from rest of the stories. Facebook also wants to make local news more prominent.
Facebook has been under hot water since March 2018 when it was revealed by Chris Wylie, a data scientist of Cambridge Analytica, that his firm acquired data of over 50 million Facebook accounts without the consent of users to make an impact in US presidential election. To ensure the trust back on Facebook, it recently deleted 583 million fake accounts and suspended more than 200 apps that may have misused users data.