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Facebook Will Remove Trending News Feature

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Four years after rolling out Trending news on its homepage, Facebook is taking down the feature. In addition, Facebook plans to remove third-party partner integrations and products that rely on the Trends application programming interface (API), a representative for the social media platform said in a blog post.

The social media platform reported that the feature only accounted for less than 1.5 percent of clicks to news publishers on average and the feature was only available in five countries. Additionally, Facebook has noticed that people are now interacting with news differently on Facebook than they had before.

“We’ve seen that the way people consume news on Facebook is changing to be primarily on mobile and increasingly through news video,” Facebook’s Head of News Products Alex Hardiman wrote in the blog post. “So we’re exploring new ways to help people stay informed about timely, breaking news that matters to them, while making sure the news they see on Facebook is from trustworthy and quality sources.”

To that end, Facebook is piloting a breaking news label with 80 publishers in several regions. It is also testing a Today In news feature that focuses in local news updates. Facebook also plans to have a section of its website dedicated to live coverage and other videos.

The news comes as Facebook has recently announced two additional features: More From This Publisher, which will give people a quick snapshot of the other recent stories posted by the publisher, and Shared By Friends, which will show people any of their friends who have shared the article. The company is also starting a test to see if users will find it easier to gauge the credibility of an article when more information about the author is provided, including a description from the author’s Wikipedia entry, a button to follow their Page or Profile and other recent articles they’ve published.

“We designed these features with feedback and input from a diverse set of people and publishers, including many participants in the Facebook Journalism Project,” the company added.

The launch happens as Facebook is dealing with the fallout from the revelation that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, was able to access data on 50 million users beginning in 2014. Cambridge Analytica was then employed to use the information to help the Trump presidential campaign.

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