Facebook adds a link to Trending News in the app’s main menu

The redesigned Trending Topics section of Facebook is now called Trending News and the updates to this feature — which were announced in May — are now available to most US users on both iOS and Android devices. For iPhone users, Trending News also has its own direct link in the Facebook app’s main navigation menu — a feature that’s in testing for Android, according to TechCrunch.

In May, Facebook announced an overhaul of its Trending Topics feature, which it was beginning to roll out to iPhone users. With that update, clicking a topic would bring you to a carousel of publications that had written about that particular subject rather that just one news source. In a statement, Facebook said, “By making it easier to see what other news outlets are saying about each topic, we hope that people will feel more informed about the news in their region.” And the update was meant to get around the news “filter bubble” effect wherein feeds are sometimes limited in scope due to having Facebook friends that all have similar interests.

Along with the news source carousel, Trending News also features actual headlines rather than just a topic — which was hinted at in the May announcement, but not described in detail. With the headlines come a photo, the name of the outlet that published the headline and how many other sources have written on the subject. Each story is also ranked. For example, while writing this, the 17th headline in my Trending News section was this article of ours and the tab noted that 26 other sources had written on the topic.

The revamped Trending section is now available for most US Facebook users on mobile and the direct navigational tab should be coming to Android users sometime soon.

Source: TechCrunch

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Facebook is still trending fake news stories

It’s been six weeks after Facebook’s “trending topics” section was publicly called out for promoting a blatantly false story about Megyn Kelly and very little — if anything — has changed. According to a new audit from the Washington Post, that Megyn Kelly incident was far from an isolated case.

In fact, after logging every trending story spotted from four different Facebook accounts during peak workday hours in September, the Post discovered at lease five trending stories that “were indisputably fake” and three others that were “profoundly inaccurate.” One such blatant example popped up the day after Apple’s big iPhone event and claimed that the Tim Cook said the iPhone 8 would have “Siri physically coming out of the phone and doing all the household chores. (The site in question was literally called “Faking News.”)

What’s more: the Post audit found even more times when the trending topics section surfaced straightforward press releases, Medium posts and links to iTunes or other online stores — in other words: things that aren’t news. While the newspaper notes that their results shouldn’t be taken as conclusive because the trending section is personalized to each user, it is clear evidence that Facebook’s switch from human editors to a completely algorithm-driven system still needs some work.

Source: Washington Post

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