Testing is underway for a "breaking news" label with 80 news publishers worldwide, said the company.

Meanwhile, the "Today In" feature is in testing in 33 US cities across the U.S. "However, it was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5 percent of clicks to news publishers on average". There will also be a dedicated news section in Facebook Watch.

While Facebook got attention for the problems the trending section had - perhaps because it seemed popular with journalists - neither its existence nor its removal makes much difference in regards to Facebook's broader problems with news. However, the company declined to provide a list of publishers or details on the funding. It also proved problematic in ways that hinted at Facebook's later problems with fake news, political balance and the limitations of AI in managing the human world.


Ultimately, Facebook appears to conclude that trying to fix the headaches around trending wasn't worth the meager benefit the company, users and news publishers saw in it. It addressed fake news accusations by adding new labels and working with third-party groups to review the veracity of stories posted on the site. When recently testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, he insisted again that Facebook is a tech company.

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

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.

Facebook's "trending" topics section had become a focal point of such criticisms. It was similar to a feature offered by Twitter (TWTR).


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. It was also available on the Facebook app.

Facebook and other social media platforms have been criticized for their role in allowing disinformation to spread during the 2016 USA election, in many cases with the help of automated "bots" or disguised Russian-based accounts.

"From research we found that over time people found the product to be less and less useful", Hardiman wrote in a blog post announcing the change.


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