Facebook is facing the music over a fake story that it promoted on the Trending Topics feature over the last weekend. The Facebook review team approved the news story about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly which claimed the news channel had fired Kelly for “backing Hillary (Clinton)”.
The approval apparently came after the team saw enough stories written in and around the topic, tech website CNET reported on Tuesday. The story was then put on Trending Topics which is visited by over 1.7 billion people every month.
Fox News called this “an egregious mistake” and directed requests to Facebook. Facebook later realised there was a problem with the accuracy of the story.
Addressing concerns over its controversial Trending Topics feature, Facebook said last week that its automation will be increased and users will no longer be required to write descriptions for trending topics. A more algorithmically driven process will allow the Facebook team to scale Trending to cover more topics and make it available to more people globally over time.
A report in technology website Gizmodo recently accused Facebook of an editorial bias against US conservative news organisations, sparking sharp reactions from across the spectrum. “This is something we always hoped to do but we are making these changes sooner given the feedback we got from the Facebook community earlier this year,” the company said in a post last weekend.
Trending Topics, which was introduced in 2014, was designed to help people discover interesting and relevant conversations happening on Facebook – about breaking news and events from around the world.
It appears on right-hand side on desktop as well as when you tap on the search box in the mobile app and primarily for people using Facebook in English (there are limited tests being run in Spanish and Portuguese).