Facebook announced Wednesday it is redesigned its "Trending Results" page to include coverage from publications outside of a user's usual interests – a year after an anti-conservative bias controversy and amid continuing criticism for propagating fake news stories.
Facebook said the feature will roll out on iPhone first, then Android and Desktop. Facebook is also testing a "top three" news stories of the day by geographical region to be featured more prominently on phones.
The social media giant made its first revisions last January, declaring there is no predetermined list of publications eligible to appear in the Trending Results page – and trending topics and publications would be based on algorithms that combine popularity and engagement, Axios reported.
Part of the motivation for the change at that time was to "help prevent hoaxes and fake news from appearing in Trending because the updated system identifies groups of articles shared on Facebook instead of relying solely on mentions of a topic," VP of product management Will Cathcart wrote.
A "60 Minutes" report in March examined how some fake news publishers use bots to influence trending topics on Twitter and Facebook; Facebook purged millions of phony accounts in April, CBS News reported.
The trending topics page first came under fire in May 2016 after reports human moderators were suppressing conservative content, leading to an inquiry by the Senate Commerce committee.
Facebook removed the human moderators the following August.
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