The entire team that has been deciding what stories to feature in the Trending section – you know that little section you never noticed before it became controversial – has been dissolved and replaced with AI.
Facebook says the product will now be “more automated” and will no longer require people to write summaries. When I think about what’s trending, I think about how many times people are engaging with content. Seems like a perfect item for automation.
“…in response to questions about alleged political bias in the product. We looked into these claims and found no evidence of systematic bias.” – Facebook search blog
It’s not all algorithmic, though. FB explains that there are still people involved in this process to ensure that the topics are relevant. “The topic #lunch is talked about during lunchtime every day around the world, but will not be a trending topic,” according to the Facebook search blog.
There will be guidelines on what can make the Trending list. If you want to read them yourself, you can find the guidelines here.
Personalized Trending Lists
Interestingly, though, Trending topics will look different for different people. It will be personalized based on different factors: Pages you’ve liked, your location, previous trending topics you’ve engaged with, and what it trending across all of Facebook.
Here’s how two different accounts showed Trending at roughly the same time. No comment on the topics themselves.