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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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Facebook tightens noose around fake accounts. Pixabay
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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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Birthday Fundraisers on Facebook Raise More than $300 mn in the First Year

Since November 2017, Facebook waived fees, so 100 per cent of all donations made to nonprofits on Facebook go directly to the nonprofits they are supporting

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Facebook birthday fundraisers raise $300 mn in 1st year. Pixabay

Facebook birthday fundraisers, a feature that allows users to raise funds for the causes they care about and donate it to nonprofit organisations, raked in more than $300 million in the first year, the company has said.

To make it easier for users to pick one non-profit from a list of over 750,000 nonprofits on Facebook, the social netoworking giant also announced new tools for people using the feature.

“…we will soon provide more information: when you click on a nonprofit in the list, you can learn more about the organisation, their mission, location and how many people like their Page,” Asha Sharma, Facebook’s Head of Product, Social Good, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We also plan to share more relevant information, like popular search terms in the nonprofit selection tool,” Sharma said.

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Facebook, social media. Pixabay

Earlier, Facebook added new tools to nonprofit fundraisers, like the ability to match donations and add organisers to fundraiser.

Pages – including those run by brands, public figures, and nonprofits themselves – can now create and donate to fundraisers.

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And it added a tool so people can make recurring monthly donations to the organisations and causes that are important to them.

Since November 2017, Facebook waived fees, so 100 per cent of all donations made to nonprofits on Facebook go directly to the nonprofits they are supporting. (IANS)