A company executive told the Associated Press that after four years Facebook is shutting down its ill-fated “trending” news section.
The company claims the tool is outdated and was not popular. The trending section also proved problematic in ways that would presage Facebook’s later problems with fake news, political balance and the limitations of artificial intelligence.
“Trending” was launched by Facebook in 2014 as a straightforward move to steal users from Twitter by giving them a quick look at the most popular news of the moment.
Now Facebook is testing new features, including a “breaking news” label that publishers can add to stories to distinguish them from other chatter. Facebook also wants to make local news more prominent. The label that Facebook is testing with 80 news publishers around the world will let outlets such as The Washington Post add a red label to indicate that a story is “breaking news.”