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Facebook changed its Trending Algorithm – Here's Why!

Facebook changed its Trending Algorithm – Here's Why!
Image credit: http://newsroom.fb.com/
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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Unknown to many, Facebook is the largest news aggregator on the planet right now. This means more people use Facebook to read about news, than any other news platform. However, it’s not to say that the website that people use to browse memes and funny cat videos is the largest source to know about the world around us – it’s the way Facebook has been revamping the way people receive news on its platform. The concept of trending is a popular way to keep track on news on both Twitter, as well as Facebook. Also, Facebook uses a very clean and sophisticated way of placement of the foresaid news on the right side of the homepage.

What’s the background?

Allegedly, Facebook fired a large chunk of entire editorial team that is responsible to check the tiny amount of text that appears under the trending category to tell readers the reason certain keywords are trending, or explain the keywords in a few words. Around 15-18 editors were fired according to unconfirmed rumors. We need to remember that back in May, a US Senate committee had alleged that Facebook manipulated it’s Facebook trends to soothe conservative users, as well as, artificially inject left-wing news topics, including the Black Lives Matter movement for those users that may be more suited to read such news. Naturally, Facebook said it found no evidence of these allegations.

What happened now?

In a move to reduce human impact on what’s trending, Facebook has automated some algorithms that will decide what’s trending – thus removing the human element in deciding the same.  You’ll just see the keyword of what’s trending, and not a human written summary/ explanation of what it is and why it’s trending.

What’s good about it?

For starters, lesser human involved in deciding what’s trending means, that there’s significantly reduced chances of bias.

Secondly, there would be raw decisions based solely on numbers, not hiding what’s considered unsafe for a targeted audience. Facebook trends would showcase a real image to its users.

Trends would still be personalized on the basis the pages you like and locations.

This removes the chances of error in someone typing out the details about the trends, because now you can just browse through what actual users have written on a topic, instead of some editors deciding it on behalf of Facebook.

What’s bad about it?

Facebook has essentially shrugged of the fractionally small amount of original content it was generating. By removing a 25-odd word summary of the trending topic, now everything on Facebook is entirely user created content services. It wouldn’t have hurt Facebook to contribute a bit of its own take on a topic either.

The new style just looks extremely bland. Users unintentionally end-up reading about trending news topics before – now only those topics that interest a user would be clicked.

A lot of sentimental insult has been portrayed by firing journalists by saying that they can’t even write 25 words. That needs to be corrected.

What do you think of the move? Do you like the new trends or hate it? Let us know in the comments on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India

Edition: December 2016

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