Facebook has killed the hated Trending Topics bar

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Facebook is shutting down its ill-fated trending news section after four years, according to a company executive.

"We're exploring new ways to help people stay informed about timely, breaking news that matters to them, while making sure the news they see on Facebook is from trustworthy and quality sources", Alex Hardiman, Facebook's head of news products, said in a blog post. It was available only in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to the websites of news publishers.

Facebook is discontinuing its troubled "trending" section, the social network announced Friday.

Facebook drew fire after actors linked to Russian Federation ran thousands of ads on the platform in an effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

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The trending section had been a large target of criticism for the company.

In 2016, a report alleged that Facebook employees. Notifications are also being tested. More problematic was the feature's tendency to spread fake news, particularly during the 2016 presidential election, The Associated Press noted.

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

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. Facebook's news curation process involved curators using something called an "injection tool" to force news into the Trending feed that wasn't naturally trending.

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Facebook also is testing a dedicated section called Today In that connects people to breaking news from local publishers in their cities, as well as to updates from local officials and organizations. The company tried to temper this by removing human reviewers who helped manage trending topics in favor of supposedly unbiased algorithms. It will also launch news videos like live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly deep dives in its Watch tab, the service's home base for video.

Trending Topics started in 2014 and caused plenty of headaches for Facebook.

Hardiman provided some examples of what the site may replace the section with in the near future.

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