‘Trending’ posts were introduced to Facebook in 2014 as a way to expose readers to topics that they might not normally see on their usual feed. However, the feature was ultimately only available to five countries on the platform and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average, reveals Facebook in a blog post.
The effectiveness of the features was cut at the knees and rendered even less useful in 2016 during the presidential election when dozens of fake news websites were attempting to influence the outcome of the Clinton v. Trump race.
Effective next week, ‘trending’ will be removed from Facebook, as well as products and third-party partner integrations that rely on the Trends API.
Facebook of course gathers data on every one of its users, and tracks the way they consume media and news. In the following months, the platform will be testing out new ways of helping people to stay informed. Facebook revealed three main ways it will implement features soon:
- 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.
According to Journalism, as of August 2017, two-thirds (67%) of Americans report that they get at least some of their news on social media. Just under half (45%) of Americans get their news from Facebook.