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Facebook finally killed its controversial Trending section, which no one was using

Trending was a PR headache, too.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook is shutting down Trending, the section of the app where Facebook would let people know what topics were most popular on the service.

The simple explanation from Facebook is that no one was actually using it. Less than 1.5 percent of traffic to news publishers came from Trending, Facebook wrote in a blog post.

On top of that, the feature was a PR nightmare for the company. It started in 2016 when a report surfaced that Facebook was suppressing conservative news content in the Trending section (Facebook said that’s not true).

The company had to go on the defensive to try and explain how it worked, and U.S. politicians took the report as a clear sign that Facebook has a liberal bias. (It was still part of the conversation around Facebook when CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in April.)

On top of that, even just looking at the section — which always seemed to be dominated by random celebrity gossip — often reminded people that Facebook is not up to speed on breaking news the way Twitter is.

The decision to kill it off makes sense given the feature’s history, but it’s also a bit of an admission that Facebook hasn’t figured out how to handle breaking news. That doesn’t mean it’s giving up. One new approach the company is trying is a “breaking” news label for publishers. That feature rolled out late last year.

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