Facebook to Scrap Trending Feature in Favour of Increased Focus on Video


Facebook’s Trending feature has somewhat ironically never been all that popular itself, and has been the cause and centre of countless problems and controversies over the years since its introduction. With that in mind it came as no great surprise when the company announced this weekend that they will be scrapping the Trending feature altogether in favour of more engaging alternatives.

In a blog post released on June 1st Alex Hardiman, Head of News Products at Facebook, said the change was being made in response to low engagement (the feature accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average) and a documented shift in how people consume news on that platform, which he says is “changing to be primarily on mobile and increasingly through news video”.

Facebook are also hoping that shifting away from the Trending feature and introducing more ways to explore news from “trustworthy and quality sources”, they can subdue the proliferation of ‘fake news and misinformation on the platform, while avoiding yet more accusations of bias.

In place of the discarded feature, Facebook are testing new alternatives including:
  • Breaking News Label: A test we’re running with 80 publishers across North America, South America, Europe, India and Australia lets publishers put a “breaking news” indicator on their posts in News Feed. We’re also testing breaking news notifications.
  • Today In: We’re testing a dedicated section on Facebook called Today In that connects people to the latest breaking and important news from local publishers in their city, as well as updates from local officials and organizations.
  • News Video in Watch: We will soon have a dedicated section on Facebook Watch in the US where people can view live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly deep dives that are exclusive to Watch.

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