Facebook has announced that it will now rely on computer algorithms—rather than human editors—to select news stories for its “trending topics” section.
Trending topics, which appear on the right side of Facebook users’ newsfeeds, highlight articles that visitors are discussing most at any particular moment. Previously, curators selected which topics to feature from an algorithmically generated list of what people on Facebook were talking about, and wrote a brief description of each topic.
Following allegations that editors running the trending news section were biased against conservative news sources and viewpoints, the social media giant announced Friday it has moved toward an automated system relying almost exclusively on algorithms. Editors will still oversee the section to ensure quality.
“Our goal is to enable Trending for as many people as possible, which would be hard to do if we relied solely on summarizing topics by hand,” the company said in a blog post on Friday. “A more algorithmically driven process allows us to scale Trending to cover more topics and make it available to more people globally over time.”
Facebook has also eliminated written descriptions that appear below each topic ― a tweak the company made earlier this summer.