Facebook is shutting down its trending topics section, a feature that was intended to highlight interesting conversations on the platform but ended up creating political headaches for the company. The section will be removed from Facebook next week, the company said Friday.
“It was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average. ” head of news products at Facebook, Alex Hardiman, said in a blog post Friday that “From research, we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful.”
The trending topics section officially launched in 2014 with the promise of helping users “discover the best content from all across Facebook.”
The decision to eliminate the section is the latest example of Facebook rethinking how news is presented on its platform after more than a year of criticism over fake news and election meddling.
In January, Facebook changed the News Feed to prioritize posts from friends, family members and groups over posts from publishers and brands.
Facebook is currently testing a new option with 80 publishers around the world to place a “breaking news” label on their posts in the News Feed.
Facebook is also promoting more local news stories and letting users rank the trustworthiness of various publications.