The Trouble of Facebook's Trends' Setting

The Trouble of Facebook's Trends' Setting

By Anna Barden | @awbarden

Facebook has established another way to make your experience more personal. Last month, the Facebook ad preferences were modified to allow users to choose what kinds of ads are seen  in their feed. Most recently, the descriptions from the Trending feature were removed and replaced with the amount of people talking about them.

How does this make the  Facebook experience more personal? The trending topics you see in the top right corner of your feed will now be relevant to elements such as pages you’ve liked, topics you have recently interacted with, your location, and more.

So now, instead of seeing a trending topic that is trending based on the entire world, you will see what is trending in your world.

Here is what you will see now, versus what you used to see:

 

To find out why a topic is trending, you can hover over its link and a preview of an article will appear.

 

The reasons for this change are to cater to a Facebook user’s interests and to push out as many trending topics as possible.

There will no longer be a need for humans to write these descriptions because of the algorithm that generates the trending topics. However, there will still be a team who will sift through the trending topics and make sure inappropriate and/or fake stories are not exposed.

So far though, not so good.

A story about Megyn Kelly was linked to the trending topic of her name. The story claimed that she had been “kicked out” of a job for reasons related to politics. The story was false.

 

The post remained in a top spot on the Facebook trending topics for hours. Damage was done not only to Megyn Kelly’s reputation, but to Facebook’s reputation as a primary news source as well.

Facebook’s intention is to bring individualized trending news to users, so problems like this might not occur frequently. . But until the algorithm issues are  sorted out on every level, the social media platform will have to keep a close eye on the validity of the trending topics - and hopefully put a stop to inaccuracies  before they trend. .


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