Facebook is Dropping the ‘Trending’ News Section

Depending on how often you check Facebook, you may run into the “Trending” news section quite a bit.

This area of the site and service, which is present on the web and on the mobile apps, was originally designed to show you what was picking up attention across Facebook, but it typically didn’t have anything to do with the news you might actually follow, or topics you might actually be interested in. That appears to be why Facebook has decided to remove the section.

According to an announcement made by the social network on Friday, Facebook will be removing the “Trending” section of the news area on its mobile apps and on the website next week. It will be doing so to “make way for future news experiences”, but also because Facebook users have apparently found the feature “less and less useful” since its inception.

On top of that, Facebook will be removing third-party partner integrations and products that take advantage of the company’s Trends API.

“We’re removing Trending soon to make way for future news experiences on Facebook. We introduced Trending in 2014 as a way to help people discover news topics that were popular across the Facebook community. However, it was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average. From research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful. We will remove Trending from Facebook next week and we will also remove products and third-party partner integrations that rely on the Trends API.”

But Facebook isn’t giving up on news altogether. It has major changes in the works. Specifically, the company wants to start showing more local options, and keep tabs on breaking news items as they happen across the globe. Here are the major bullet points:

  • Breaking News Label: A test we’re running with 80 publishers across North America, South America, Europe, India and Australia lets publishers put a “breaking news” indicator on their posts in News Feed. We’re also testing breaking news notifications.
  • Today In: We’re testing a dedicated section on Facebook called Today In that connects people to the latest breaking and important news from local publishers in their city, as well as updates from local officials and organizations.
  • News Video in Watch
  • : We will soon have a dedicated section on Facebook Watch in the US where people can view live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly deep dives that are exclusive to Watch.

Facebook says these changes will be rolling out soon, with some already in a testing phase. Meanwhile, the Trending section should be gone from your Facebook experience starting some time next week.

Our Take

I don’t check my Facebook feed all that often, but that Trending section is obnoxious and pointless. So many different times I just see the most pointless articles that have no impact on anything –“[insert celebrity name here] is on a beach!”, or something similar. Sure, it can show breaking news, but Twitter has already proven to be a better source for that sort of thing. Can Facebook make some necessary changes to improve itself? Only time will tell.

[via Facebook]