Facebook is removing the the trending news feature next week

Facebook also ditched human moderators for the section and relied instead on algorithms.

Facebook on Friday said that it will scrap its "trending" topics news section next week and introduce a new "breaking news" label available for posts. "So we're exploring new ways to help people stay informed about timely, breaking news that matters to them, while making sure the news they see on Facebook is from trustworthy and quality sources".

When Facebook launched "trending" in 2014 as a list of headlines appearing at the side of the main news feed, it aimed to steal users from Twitter by offering them a quick look at the most popular news stories.

Facebook drew fire after actors linked to Russian Federation ran thousands of ads on the platform in an effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook fired its human curators in response, saying at the time that it hoped to automate the Trending section. Indeed, in its announcement, Facebook noted that the way people consume news on Facebook is changing.

Testing is underway for a "breaking news" label with 80 news publishers worldwide, said the company. Often criticized for surfacing conspiracies and fake information, like a hoax about 9/11 and a false article about then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, the Trending Topics section sparked an outcry in 2016 when a report alleged the feature purposely suppressed conservative news outlets.

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According to Hardiman, Facebook will soon have a dedicated section on Facebook Watch in the US where people can view live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly features that will be exclusive to Watch. The company continued to modify the section, but Facebook said that over time it became less useful to users.

"There are other ways for us to better invest our resources", Hardiman told the AP.

One reason the feature is so little used could be that it's not immediately visible on Facebook's app or mobile version, where most people use the site.

Another feature, called "Today In", shows people breaking news in their area from local publishers, officials and organizations. The company says it's killing that feature next week in order to focus on other news features.

Hardiman provided some examples of what the site may replace the section with in the near future. The company is also funding news videos, created exclusively for Facebook by outside publishers it would not yet name.

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