Facebook’s failed tryst with trending topics will finally come to an end with the removal of the ‘Trending’ sidebar on your homepage, the company informed on Monday. This comes in after years of criticism on the algorithm used to pick the features stories, and later the reliability of the news that was shared through the medium.
Reports suggest the section will shut down permanently from next week. Facebook says that this move will help “make way for future news experiences.” Available in five countries, it “accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average.”
“From research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful,” says Facebook. It’s currently testing three new features — including a ‘breaking news’ label for publishers, a ‘today in’ section for local news sharing and a US-specific ‘News Video in Watch.’
The Trending feature first came under fire after Gizmodo published a report in 2016, claiming that Facebook editors were able to curate headlines and ‘routinely suppress’ conservative agenda. But the events that followed — Cambridge Analytica’s ties with Donald Trumps 2016 election campaign — only proved otherwise.
There have also been long-running jokes on how Facebook’s trends are always 24 hours behind Twitter’s. It might have gotten better eventually, but it was principally a case of too little too late.