In its bid to clamp down on fake news distributed by users on its social media network, Facebook has announced plans to adjust its “trending topics” algorithm to feature only news items reported by several authority news publishers; and not again on widest topics being shared or commented by people, NPR reports.
Facebook was forced to take this stand after critics accused it of helping Donald Trump become the new American president through the way people circulated fake news stories which skewed public opinion polls on the social media platform.
Facebook has also decided that its 1.8 billion users will be able to see the same trending news topics once they are located in the same region, rather than customizing the trending news topics to reflect user’s individual interests on the site, ABC News said.
Facebook introduced the algorithm that neutrally features trending topics lists on its platform and did away with human editors who could suppress conservative perspectives of users on the site. This according to Will Cathcart, the company’s vice president of product management will ensure that human interference with featured news lists becomes impossible.
To drive home this point, the social media site is also removing news publishers who have frequently published fake news from its ads network so as to weed out sponsors of false news and replace them with credible news publishers from various platforms. Google also did the same by banning over 200 news publishers from its Adsense network so as to stifle their income sources and run fake news publishers out of business.
Facebook came up with the idea for “trending topics” after micro-blogging site Twitter activated the same feature a couple of years back with resounding success. According to Facebook, this feature is dependent “on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you’ve liked and your location.”
On desktop, the trending topics are found to the right of the main news feed and on mobile devices, they are seen only in search.