Facebook will no longer have humans write descriptions for stories that appear in its Trending news section, the company announced on Friday.
Algorithms will instead sort topics and show the number of people on Facebook talking about each topic at a given moment.
Here’s the old vs. new look for Trending:
The change comes after a Gizmodo story in May that said Facebook contractors routinely suppressed conservative news outlets from appearing in the Trending section.
Facebook says that human editors are still involved in selecting which stories are actual news events and not simply reoccurring discussions (like #lunch), but its contractors will no longer write descriptions and summaries of news events.
So instead of seeing “McDonald’s Launches Pumpkin Spice Latte” in Trending, you’ll just see “McDonalds” along with the number of people talking about that story. If you click on the topic, you’ll be shown an algorithimically sorted list of news stories related to the topic and a brief summary.
“Our goal is to enable Trending for as many people as possible, which would be hard to do if we relied solely on summarizing topics by hand,” according to a Facebook blog post. “A more algorithmically driven process allows us to scale Trending to cover more topics and make it available to more people globally over time. This is something we always hoped to do but we are making these changes sooner given the feedback we got from the Facebook community earlier this year.”
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