Facebook killing controversial ‘Trending’ feature, breaking news alerts and more coming

Facebook is set to kill its "trending" news section next week after four years and is testing a new breaking news feature that could replace it.

"I consider us to be a technology company because the primary thing that we do is have engineers who write code and build product and services for other people", he told Congress.

In Friday's announcement, Facebook also said that 80 publishers are testing a "breaking news" label that they can pin to their articles in the news feed.

The company didn't provide a time frame for when Facebook's news-focused video hub would go live, but said that "soon" 10 to 12 US publishers will be launching news shows in Watch, focused on live coverage of breaking events, daily shows and weekly shows.

The feature caused Facebook a massive headache in 2016, after Gizmodo reported that the humans hired to moderate content featured in the section were suppressing conservative sources. In early 2017, Facebook made another attempt to fix the trending section, this time by including only topics covered by several news publishers.

The Facebook logo is seen at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square.

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Trending is being pulled from Facebook next week and it will also remove products and third-party partner integrations that rely on the Trends API, the company said.

Alex Hardiman, Facebook's head of news products, said that the feature which was only available in five countries had only accounted for an average of 1.5 percent of clicks to a media outlets page.

Pasquale said Facebook's new efforts represent "very slow steps" toward an acknowledgement that the company is making editorial judgments when it decides what news should be shown to users - and that it needs to empower journalists and editors to do so. The company is simultaneously experimenting with a breaking-news notification, a section dedicated to breaking local news, and a video feature for American users to watch live coverage and weekly reports.

"Breaking news has to look different than a recipe", Hardiman said. The section, which appears to the right of the main news feed on the desktop and in search on mobile, has been a lightning rod for criticism nearly since its launch in 2014.

Facebook says the trending section was never popular.

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