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Facebook Killing Controversial ‘Trending’ Feature, Breaking News Alerts and More Coming

Facebook kills 'Trending' feature, tests breaking news indicator

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LinkedIn faced probe for Facebook ads targeting 18 mn non-members. Pixabay

Facebook has finally decided to do away with its controversial “Trending” feature to make way for “future news experiences” which may include a breaking news notifications.

“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,” Alex Hardiman, Facebook’s Head of News Products said in a statement on Friday.

Facebook introduced the Trending feature in 2014 aiming to help people discover news topics that were popular across the community.

But for this feature that show a collection of headlines, the social networking giant soon faced allegations of political bias.

The headlines were initially selected by human editors and a former contractor on the project claimed that Facebook used this feature to promote liberal causes and suppress conservative issues, NBC News reported.

Facebook later removed the human editors and in its bid to appear neutral put in place an algorithm to decide what would find a place in the Trending section.

However, the algorithm went haywire, at times promoting hoax stories and offensive headlines, including one about a man masturbating with a McDonald’s sandwich, the NBC News report said.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

Facebook said that the feature was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5 per cent of clicks to news publishers on average.

“From research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful,” Hardiman said.

“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.

Facebook said it is running a test in several countries including in India to let publishers put a “breaking news” indicator on their posts in News Feed.

“We’re also testing breaking news notifications,” Hardiman said.

Also Read: Facebook Losing out to YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat Among US Teens

In addition to this, 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 organisations.

“We 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,” Hardiman added.

“We are committed to ensuring the news that people see on Facebook is high quality, and we’re investing in ways to better draw attention to breaking news when it matters most,” she said. (IANS)

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India: CSC Partners with Facebook to Provide Digital Skill Training to Women Village Level Entrepreneurs

India has made dramatic strides in expanding access to affordable mobile broadband in the last few years

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Facebook, Digital Skills, Women
In the first year of this project, Facebook, in collaboration with CSC Academy, plans to provide tools and digital skills training to more than 250,000 people across over 3,000 villages in 10 states in India. Pixabay

Common Services Centre (CSC), which serves as access point for the delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, on Tuesday announced a partnership with social media giant Facebook to provide digital skill training to women village level entrepreneurs.

In the first year of this project, Facebook, in collaboration with CSC Academy, plans to provide tools and digital skills training to more than 250,000 people across over 3,000 villages in 10 states in India.

“India has made dramatic strides in expanding access to affordable mobile broadband in the last few years. We are excited to partner with CSC Academy to create a programme that will build on this success as well as the outstanding community networks that CSC has built over the years,” Ajit Mohan, Managing Director, Facebook India, said while speaking at the CSC Diwas celebration here.

As part of the project CSC will identify and nominate 5,000 women village level entrepreneurs across 10 states – Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telangana, Bihar, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Facebook, Digital Skills, Women
Common Services Centre (CSC), which serves as access point for the delivery of various electronic services to villages in India. Pixabay

These women entrepreneurs will be given training sessions on leveraging various Facebook tools to not just build and grow their business but also on how to train people on the ground.

These entrepreneurs will further help build awareness to ensure that the community is able to learn from each other.

CSC along with Facebook will co-create a curriculum (online and offline) around digital marketing skills and online safety in over 14 regional languages.

“CSC has unleashed entrepreneurs across villages in India, many of them women. With the #DigitalBeti programme, our objective is to arm these village level entrepreneurs with similar digital tool kits that large corporations have access to, and unleash their full potential and their ability to create economic opportunities for themselves and their communities,” Mohan said.

Also Read- Facebook Preparing Launch of Serious Competitor to Short Video-Sharing App TikTok

From just 13,000 women village level entrepreneurs in 2014, today more than 73,000 women entrepreneurs are working across 3.66 lakh CSC centres, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. (IANS)