Facebook is shutting down its notorious 'trending' feature

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It's unusual for a site that's used for search, like Facebook, to not manage a trending section. The company is simultaneously experimenting with a breaking-news notification, a section dedicated to breaking local news, and a video feature for American users to watch live coverage and weekly reports.

"People tell us they want to stay informed about what is happening around them", wrote Alex Hardiman, Head of News Products at Facebook, in an announcement.

But the curation of trending news in the absence of human oversight led to more blowback and embarrassment.

Facebook has occasionally gotten in trouble because of Trending, which could get confused and surface objectionable content and Fake News.

The Facebook logo is seen at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square.

The section, which launched in 2014, was created to help people quickly find interesting topics on Facebook.

Facebook is now testing new features, including a "breaking news" label that publishers can add to stories to distinguish them from other chatter.

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The trending section had been a headache for the company.

The contractor claimed Facebook downplayed conservative issues and promoted liberal causes.

How the platform approached its role as a news disseminator has sparked heavy criticism across a number of different groups. Facebook eventually fired the editors on the trending team, replacing them with an automated process. It's being tested in 30 markets in the US. The product is still in what Facebook calls "alpha" testing, which indicates it's very early days for this feature - an alpha test precedes a beta test, which itself is ahead of a public launch.

Facebook says the trending section wasn't a popular feature to begin with.

These new ways include a Breaking News label in the News Feed section for select publishers, a locally focused section that's being tested called Today In, and the addition of news video for US users of Facebook Watch.

And in almost the same breath, he then went on to admit that Facebook pays to "help produce content" - as it's doing now with these new news videos.

When Facebook launched "trending" in 2014 as a list of headlines to the side of the main news feed, it was a straightforward move to steal users from Twitter by giving them a quick look at the most popular news of the moment.