Facebook to swap ‘trending’ topics for breaking news

Jun 02, 2018, 00:26

"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", Alex Hardiman, Facebook's head of news products, said in a blog post.

The California-based social network is also testing a "Today" section dedicated to "breaking and important news" from local publishers, officials and organizations, according to Hardiman.

Eighty publishers around the world now have access to the tool, which allows them to add a label that indicates a story is "breaking".

Facebook says that the early results from this testing have led to a 4 percent lift in click-through rates, a 7 percent lift in Likes, and an 11 percent lift in shares. It plans to launch this feature in the next few months.

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Meanwhile, the "Today In" feature is in testing in 33 USA cities across the U.S.

These new ways include a Breaking News label in the News Feed section for select publishers, a locally focused section that's being tested called Today In, and the addition of news video for United States users of Facebook Watch. But only two days after the company stopped using humans to curate the list, a fake news item made its way into the section. These efforts will be funded by Facebook itself, the company said.

The Kelly hoax was supposed to be an anomaly, but a subsequent audit by The Intercept found other instances of trending stories that were indisputably fake or profoundly inaccurate. "From research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful". The Trending section is no longer trending among Facebook users.

Facebook's "trending" topics section had become a focal point of such criticisms. Google offers a whole suite of products around tracking trends, and Twitter offers trends, even down to a local level.

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In May, the social media giant announced that it would bring in former Sen.

Trending is being pulled from Facebook next week and it will also remove products and third-party partner integrations that rely on the Trends API, the company said.

Facebook said it is testing different ways for news to spread on its Facebook instead, including a "breaking news" label and a dedicated section on Facebook for local news called Today In.

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