Facebook 'Trending' Section Is Getting a Little More Useful
Facebook's Trending section got off to a rough start, from accusations of suppressing conservative viewpoints to pushing bogus news stories after human editors were removed. But after some tweaks, the social network is now trying to make it easier for Facebook users to find reputable news sources that can explain why a certain term is trending.
Facebook has redesigned its Trending results page -- the one you see when you click on a trending topic to learn more about it -- to "make it easier to discover other publications that are covering the story." Now, instead of just seeing what your friends and others with public posts are saying about a topic, you will find news stories, too. Swipe through to see what they're saying.
The new trending results page is available to U.S. iPhone users, and should reach Android and desktops "soon," Facebook Product Manager Ali Ahmadi and Product Designer John Angelo wrote in an announcement.
Ahmadi and Angelo said the stories appearing in the new carousel "are determined … using a combination of factors including the engagement around the article on Facebook, the engagement around the publisher overall, and whether other articles are linking to it." The duo added that "there is no predetermined list of publications that are eligible to appear in trending." The changes announced this week also won't alter how Facebook selects trending topics.
Meanwhile, Facebook is making it easier for people on mobile to find trending topics in the first place. Right now, you have to tap the search box up top, but Facebook is running a "small test" whereby trending stories will show up right in your News Feed. It will display the top three stories; you can click to see a full list of trending topics or click the drop-down menu to remove it from your feed and prevent it from appearing there in the future.
Facebook last year came under fire for allegedly suppressing politically conservative news stories in its trending topics section. The social network said it "found no evidence" to back up that claim, but tweaked its trending topics selection process anyway, and ultimately ditched the human editors who were curating the section for algorithms.