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Facebook is ditching human editors from its trending topics

The social networking giant is switching to special algorithms to pull excerpts from stories culled for the section.
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Facebook made the news a few months ago after claims surfaced via Gizmodo that the social network kept certain conservative news content from hitting the site's Trending Topics section (claims that it denied). Today, the social network announced that humans would no longer write special descriptions for the stories that appear in the site's Trending Topics area seen on the top right of your Facebook profile.

Instead, while human employees will select what shows up there, a special algorithm pulls excerpts from the articles themselves to place within the Trending Topics section. There won't be a special story description exactly, but a "simplified topic," as Facebook attests, as well as the number of people currently discussing the topic on Facebook itself.

You'll be able to hover over the topic or click on it to see what others are saying about it, just like you can currently, but there'll be a news story automatically pulled for you to investigate as well. Facebook attests these stories will be ranked algorithmically and based on mentions and a "sharp increase" in them over a short period of time. It's also personalized based on the Pages you like, your location, the other trending topics you've looked at, and everything currently trending on Facebook.

Meanwhile, as Recode notes, the human team's involvement does mean they could place a bias on the news that's selected to appear. Facebook's official stance is that there was "no evidence of systematic bias" found after its investigation.

"Facebook is a platform for all ideas, and we're committed to maintaining Trending as a way for people to access a breadth of ideas and commentary about a variety of topics," the official blog post says. The changes should be rolling out soon.

In this article: culture, facebook, internet
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