Four Years Ago, Facebook launched its Trending Topics section. Since then it has maintained its constant presence on the right side of the news feed of the users. The section was being criticised for years. The criticisms were on several grounds right from how Facebook deliberately picked specific pieces of news to feature on the Trending section to questioning the reliability of the news that was featured in the segment.
The Trending box was just active in five countries. On an average, it led to less than 1.5% of clicks for the news publishers. Thus, it was neither profitable nor reliable. Facebook is all set to do away with it due to these reasons by the end of next week. To replace the same, thoughts are being projected in other ways in which it can fill up its users on the trending news topics the world over. The proposed methods include a breaking news section and a section that shall exclusively focus on the local news of the area.
Gizmodo led the way for the criticism of the Trending Topics section in 2016. It was claimed that the former Facebook editors engaged in the unethical practice of routinely suppressing “conservative” news articles. The allegations seemed baseless in the light of what happened consequently. The entire platform was made a part of propagating the conservative ideology. The initial revelations by Gizmodo were enough to shake the belief of the users and thus cause loss of goodwill to the service. It even cost the editorial team of Facebook its jobs and led to significant rethinking by the organization regarding the distribution of news stories in future.
Moreover, Trending Topics section was just not up to the mark. It did not perform its functions in the best possible manner. The vast user base of Facebook was never really a huge fan of the section. The news articles were published way after they took place. Twitter did a much better job of keeping its users updated on the trending news than Facebook ever did. This lagging behind made Facebook a subject of mockery. The section has improved with time. It is now faster in updating its users. However, it has still not cemented its place as the first place where a user gets to tap on the details of a recent happening.
Facebook says that the removal of the Trending Topics Section will eventually make way for newer and more innovative ways of distributing the news. However, nothing can be ascertained for now. It is not clear whether it is hinting at any new development that will soon fill the vacuum left by the Trending Topics section or a more unique and better approach to distributing news in the first place. To get a grasp on this issue, we will have to wait until the end of this week.