Facebook Inc. said it is scrapping its trending-topics feature, two years after the list of news stories became a lightning rod for conservatives' discontent over what they claimed was the company's liberal bias-an accusation that still dogs Facebook.
"So 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", she said. Facebook Watch will soon have a dedicated section for live news coverage.
Despite the efforts, conservatives are still targeting Facebook and other technology companies.
Active since 2014, the section highlighted three top news stories trending across the platform, though how Facebook decided which news items to include there often came under scrutiny.
Facebook fired its human curators in response, saying at the time that it hoped to automate the Trending section. Zuckerberg met with prominent right-wing leaders at the company's headquarters in an attempt at damage control.More news: Avenatti alleges Michael Cohen recorded 'inappropriate' conversations
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Instead, the software algorithm began to pick out posts that were getting the most attention, even if the information was bogus.
"I consider us to be a technology company because the primary thing that we do is have engineers who write code and build product and services for other people", he told Congress. Hardiman said Facebook is testing the new label with 80 publishers across North America, South America, Europe, India and Australia.
"Breaking news has to look different than a recipe", Hardiman said.
Facebook also is testing a dedicated section called Today In that connects people to breaking news from local publishers in their cities, as well as to updates from local officials and organizations. It's being tested out in 30 markets in the U.S. Hardiman says the goal is to help "elevate great local journalism".
However, it was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average.
Detailed in a press release, Facebook says that its trending feature was only available in select countries and didn't prove to be popular.