Following the reports of Facebook becoming a gatekeeper of the news in its “Trending Topics” section, the social media giant has announced a few updates to the section. According to a blog post, the company is making the “Trending Section” automated and no manual labor will be used to write their descriptions.
The new change will appear in a way that the users will no longer see the description of the trending news, rather there will be data showing the number of people talking about the topic. This is based on the number of original posts that mention the topic and shares of posts about the topic.
Also, people can hover/click on the topic to see what the people are saying about a topic. When clicked, a search result page appears showing the news sources that are covering the topic, posts discussing the topic, and an automatically selected news story with an excerpt pulled directly from the top article itself.
“Our goal is to enable Trending for as many people as possible, which would be hard to do if we relied solely on summarizing topics by hand. A more algorithmically driven process allows us to scale Trending to cover more topics and make it available to more people globally over time,” Facebook mentioned in its post.
The topics appearing under “Trending” changes based on the various parameters, such as Pages you’ve liked, previously interacted posts, etc. Facebook also responded that the company has conducted a thorough investigation into the claims of bias in Trending. “We looked into these claims and found no evidence of systematic bias. Still, making these changes to the product allows our team to make fewer individual decisions about topics,” it mentioned. The company added that it has strict guidelines in this.