Facebook ‘trending’ still a bit more useful

Facebook’s Trending section had a difficult start, allegations of suppressing conservative views pushing fake news stories after the human editors were removed. But after some tweaks, the social network is now trying to make it easier for Facebook users to find reputable news sources that can explain why a particular term is trending.

Facebook has re-designed Trending results page you see when you click on a trending topic to learn more about how to “make it easier to discover other publications that the story.” Now, instead of just to see what your friends and others with public posts are saying about a topic, you will find the news stories, too. Swipe through to see what they say.

Ahmadi and Angelo said the stories appearing in the new carousel “are determined… using a combination of factors, including the commitment regarding the article about Facebook, the commitment to the publisher a complete and or other articles to link to.” The duo added that “there is no fixed list of publications that are eligible to be shown in trending.” The changes announced this week will not change how Facebook selects trending topics.

The new trend results page is available for iPhone users, and should reach Android and desktops “quick,” Facebook Product Manager Ali Ahmadi and Product Designer John Angelo wrote in a statement.

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Meanwhile, Facebook is making it easier for people on mobile to find trending topics in the first place. Now you have to tap the search box above, but Facebook is a “small test” which trending stories appearing in your News Feed. It will display the top three stories; you can click to see a full list of trending topics, or click the drop-down menu to remove it from your feed and preventing them from appearing there in the future.

Facebook last year came under fire for allegedly suppressing politically conservative news stories in the trending topics section. The social network said that it “found no evidence” to back up that claim, but tweaked its trending topics selection process anyway, and eventually dumped in the human users who are curating the section for algorithms.

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