Facebook to Dump Trending Topics Feature

Facebook is shutting down its Trending topics section, the company announced Friday.

Alex Hardiman, Facebook’s head of news products, said the feature would be removed because it is outdated and not very popular.

“It was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average,” Hardiman wrote in a blog post Friday. “From research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful.”

The Trending section debuted as a list of headlines on the side of the main news feed in 2014.

It was designed to help users find the most talked about subjects on the social media platform – similar to the one on Twitter. But Facebook’s version generated controversy for spreading conspiracies and news that wasn’t true.

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Two years ago, an anonymous former Facebook contractor also claimed employees were blocking news about “popular conservative topics.”

According to The Associated Press, Facebook fired the editors who managed Trending and replaced them with software to avoid political bias. But the company ran into additional problems, when the software algorithm it switched to started promoting posts containing fake news.

The removal of the Trending section is the latest change at Facebook.

Earlier this year, the company altered the News Feed to prioritize posts from friends and family members over posts from publishers and brands.

Hardiman’s blogpost said the company is now clearing the way “for future news experiences on Facebook.”

Those experiences include a new label to let publishers put a “breaking news” indicator on their posts.

Facebook is also testing a section called Today In, to connect users with the latest breaking and featured news from local publishers in their communities, and they’re rolling out a section on Facebook Watch in the U.S., where people can view live coverage, daily news briefings and other videos.

The Trending section will be removed from Facebook next week.