Social media giant, Facebook says it is making some changes to the Trending feature on that automates the service.
Facebook says that the changes will make the product more automated and will no longer require people to write descriptions for trending topics.
Facebook says the Trending feature was added to Facebook in 2014, with the goal of helping as many users as possible discover interesting and relevant conversations happening on on the social media service. The Facebook Trending showcases breaking news and events from around the world, but that goal will be hard to achieve if the company rely solely on summarizing topics by hand, according to the social media giant.
With the introduction of a more algorithmically driven process to Trending on Facebook, the feature will be able to cover more topics and will be made available to more people globally over time, the company says. Facebook has decided to make these changes sooner given the feedback gotten from the Facebook community earlier this year.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]Instead of seeing a story description in Trending, the update now allows users to see a simplified topic, as well as the number of people talking about that particular topic on Facebook. This is based on the number of original posts that mention the topic and shares of posts about the topic.[/quote]Instead of seeing a story description in Trending, the update now allows users to see a simplified topic, as well as the number of people talking about that particular topic on Facebook. This is based on the number of original posts that mention the topic and shares of posts about the topic.
To see more about what people are saying about a topic, Facebook says users can hover over it or click on it. A search results page will include the news sources that are covering it, posts discussing it and an automatically selected original news story with an excerpt pulled directly from the top article itself. As before, articles and posts that appear in search results are surfaced algorithmically, based on a high volume of mentions and a sharp increase in mentions over a short period of time.
Like much of the content seen across Facebook, the list of topics seen is still personalized based on a number of factors, including Pages that have been liked by users, users’ location (e.g. home state sports news), the previous trending topics with which users have interacted, and what is trending across Facebook overall.
There are still people involved in this process to ensure that the topics that appear in Trending remain high quality, for example, confirming that a topic is tied to a current news event in the real world. Also, the topic #lunch is talked about during lunchtime every day around the world, but will not be a trending topic.
Facebook says these changes mean that its team will no longer need to do things like write topic descriptions and short story summaries since they are now relying on an algorithm to pull excerpts directly from news stories, adding that the Facebook team will still strictly follow the company’s guidelines, which have been updated to reflect these changes.
Noting that earlier this year, the company shared more information about Trending in response to questions about alleged political bias in the product, Facebook stated that the company have looked into these claims and found no evidence of systematic bias but still, making these changes to the product allows its team to make fewer individual decisions about topics.
The social network service provider maintains that as a platform for all ideas, it is committed to maintaining Trending as a way for people to access a breadth of ideas and commentary about a variety of topics.