Facebook is finally killing the Trending news box after operating it for just about four years. The feature was "designed to help people discover major events and meaningful conversations", but apparently it never really took off.
The official reason for the removal of the Trending feature is due to users finding it being less and less useful over time. Facebook also notes that it was never made globally available, being only available in five countries and accounting for less than 1.5% of clicks to publishers. Aside from being ineffective at its stated goals, Trending became a 2016 PR nightmare for the company. Facebook faced accusations of political bias in the surfacing of news stories. The firm eventually shifted to AI to avoid such accusations of impropriety, before now deciding to dump it wholesale.
"We’ve seen that the way people consume news on Facebook is changing to be primarily on mobile and increasingly through news video." Facebook's Alex Hardiman explained, "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."
These like 'Breaking News Labels', 'Today In' and 'News Video In Watch' are already being tested at the moment. None of these new features are exactly analogous to Trending. Facebook will also be working on spreading more high-quality news, and increased focus on local news reporting. Despite being years into the news business, Facebook is still throwing stuff at the wall. It'll take a few months, maybe longer, to see what sticks.