A report published today at the Newsroom highlighted Facebook’s current changes to the ‘Trending’ area. The charts will now include headlines to describe relevant topics, among other updates. Changes will roll out today in the US only, for the time being.
Facebook’s new switch is part of the company’s revamped stance against fake news and disinformation.
Starting with their previously announced Journalism Project, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform wants to redeem itself in the public eye.
In other news, the blue-clad network introduced a ‘Stories’ feature very similar to that of Snapchat, and the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative recently acquired a startup known as ‘Meta’ that works with AI technologies.
Changes to the ‘Trending’ section
To provide users with al little more context on relevant topics, Facebook will now include a headline from a trusted online source below the Trending Topic.
Facebook selects the headlines based on three parameters, ‘engagement’ around the article (meaning comments and likes), engagement around its publisher, and whether other news outlets cite the article as a source.
The company also changed the way topics become ‘Trending’ material. Before, Facebook identified a trend because of a single, highly engaged, article. Now, they intend to classify events through a larger number of publications.
Third, Facebook’s ‘Trending’ topics will now appear by region, which means that more people will receive information on certain issues that happen close to them. Before this change, Facebook assigned topics according to a user’s personal interests.
The fight against fake news continues
Facebook’s recent pledge to combat false news through partnerships with dedicated journalists and institutions is a much-expected step forward for the company.
According to the article, the ‘Trending’ feature also has some ways of detecting misinformation. The piece notes they mainly relate to user reports for spam and fake news.
Facebook’s changes to the ‘Trending’ platform might help in some way reduce the number of fake news websites on the spotlight. However, if user engagement drives the feature, misinformation might still thrive through quick likes and shares.
Facebook’s recent ‘Stories’ feature and further AI development
In other recent news, Facebook’s new ‘Stories’ feature rolled out in Ireland for a testing period and is expected to come to the US in the following months.
The Zuckerberg-Chan Initiative also purchased Meta, an AI dedicated startup with a history of application development. This partnership will result in a wider availability of AI resources for academic researchers and other interested parties.