Facebook is killing the controversial 'Trending' news section it showed on its homepage

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  • Facebook has announced plans to discontinue its Trending news module next week.
  • The feature, located at the top-right portion of the News Feed, provided links to news stories that people were sharing and commenting about on Facebook.
  • It was controversial since its launch in 2014.

Facebook announced on Friday that it planned to remove Trending, a module on the right-hand side of Facebook’s desktop site that shows news stories people are discussing and sharing.

“From research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful,” Facebook’s head of news products, Alex Hardiman, said in a blog post on Friday. “We will remove Trending from Facebook next week and we will also remove products and third-party partner integrations that rely on the Trends API.”

Facebook said that the module accounted for less than 1.5% of the clicks to news publishers and that internal research said people found “the product to be less and less useful.”

Facebook said it was experimenting with other news products, including a section called Today In that includes breaking and local news. It also said it was launching a dedicated section for live coverage and daily news briefings in its Watch product.

Trending was introduced in 2014 but was intensely controversial from the beginning. Often, intentionally false or misleading stories were featured in the module. In 2016, Gizmodo reported that Facebook’s contract workers often chose not to link to news with a conservative slant.

Facebook fired its human curators in response, saying at the time that it hoped to automate the Trending section.

“We’ve seen that the way people consume news on Facebook is changing to be primarily on mobile and increasingly through news video,” Hardiman wrote in the Facebook blog post.

Here’s what the module looked like on Friday:

Facebook TrendingScreenshot

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