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Facebook to Remove Trending Topics

     
3:39 pm on Jun 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Facebook is to remove Trending topics in the next week as it says it only accounted for 1.5% of clicks.
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 has not been specific abut what will replace it, but it has indicated a few experiments.

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.


[newsroom.fb.com...]
3:56 am on June 2, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I saw that.

Facebook has not been specific abut what will replace it, but it has indicated a few experiments.
I closed that notice so I can't go back and check, but I thought they said "to make room for News" which I though was odd because that's what I consider "Trending Topics" to be... News (or at least someone's version of it.)
8:53 am on June 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm guessing that one of the reasons Facebook might be removing Trending is that the feature might have opened the door to certain kinds of viral feedback in the news algorithm, which they're now seeing is not always a good thing.

While the "1.5% of the clicks" description tends to minimize the idea of volatility, a more extended quote from the article suggests this 1.5% figure has been averaged out, perhaps enough to discount traffic peaks....
for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average

Sounds a little like the way Google fudges how much space advertising occupies in the serps. I really don't know how high the click peaks went, but numerous reports I've read of the micro-targeting of certain types of news stories and memes suggest that targeting could be uncannily precise on a regional and demographic level.

Hard to say how the replacements for "Trends" they're considering... including "Breaking News Label" and "Today In"... will help Facebook to report the news without shaping it. FB also needs to stay timely enough to satisfy advertisers. Hard to say also whether relying more on local news sources will make the news more or less reliable.

People tell us they want to stay informed about what is happening around them. We are committed to ensuring the news that people see on Facebook is high quality, and we’re investing in ways to better draw attention to breaking news when it matters most.

It's an interesting problem... and very definitely an important one.

9:13 am on June 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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PS: Regarding what will replace "Trending" on the page, the FB notice said...
We're removing Trending soon to
make way for future news
experiences on Facebook.

"Future news experiences" could be anything from VR to a recycled version of Facebook Instant Articles.

9:42 am on June 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Future news ain't what it used to be.
6:52 am on June 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Zuck to crew: "Trending ain't doing what we want."
Crew to Zuck: "Well, the filters all work!"
Zuck to Crew: "The wrong way. Fix it!"

A few fb regulars I've chatted with have not been happy with the "trending" offering. Wasn't trending for their taste. Admittedly, that is a very small sample and not one I am willing to argue for or against, or even go out and sample others.