Facebook recently announced a change to the trending section on the social network. As you may probably have seen already, the new trends do not show the description below the topics that are trending. Trends was an effort by Facebook, to match Twitter’s news delivery capabilities. However, the company originally decided that it would have active human involvement instead of a solely algorithm driven method.
Why is Facebook doing this? Let’s look at what the company has to say.
Making trends faster
The move to make the trending section more algorithm driven will help Facebook’s trends become faster. Its trends currently do lag behind Twitter, with topics often showing up a full day or more, after it became relevant. The fact that humans won’t be involved in writing short intro texts for each trend, will at least speed up the process a little bit.
Facebook's new trending section
Reducing human bias
Facebook was recently accused for bias in its trending section. Although the comapny says further investigation revealed no such bias, it’s taking steps to reduce human involvement. “We looked into these claims and found no evidence of systematic bias. Still, making these changes to the product allows our team to make fewer individual decisions about topics,” wrote Facebook in its announcement post.
Facebook clarified that humans are still involved, though. “There are still people involved in this process to ensure that the topics that appear in Trending remain high-quality — for example, confirming that a topic is tied to a current news event in the real world. The topic #lunch is talked about during lunchtime every day around the world, but will not be a trending topic,” says the blog post.
Facebook has always maintained that its trends section is customised according to your own interests. This can not be done manually, and the social network has to use specialised algorithms. This also becomes faster and easier if the human involvement is reduced. It also allows Facebook a more granular approach on the trends it shows you, based on your interest.
Lastly, if trends only need to show a particular topic name, it means more topics can be. “A more algorithmically driven process allows us to scale Trending to cover more topics and make it available to more people globally over time,” wrote Facebook.