Facebook Trending News editors dismissed, algorithim promotes ‘fake’ news

Facebook Trending News editors replaced by automated algorithim leading to offensive and false news stories being promoted over the weekend
 

30 August 2016, 9:57am
Last Friday, Facebook announced that the it had eliminated humans working in its trending news module and replaced them with the website’s algorithim. However, the results over this first weekend left much to be desired, as international media report.

Over the weekend, one of the stories being pushed by the social media website, was a false story about Fox News host Megyn Kelly entitled: “BREAKING: Fox News Exposes Traitor Megyn Kelly, Kicks Her Out For Backing Hillary.” Megyn Kelly is still employed by Fox News and has not endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

Facebook has since removed the article, published by a website called Ending the Fed and linking to another little known site, Conservative 101.

Other stories pushed by the website were headlines reading: “SNL Star Calls Ann Coulter a Racist C*nt,” and referred to attacks on the author during a Comedy Central roast of actor Rob Lowe, as well as Twitter hashtags including #McChicken, a hashtag that had gone viral after someone posted a video of a man masturbating with a McChicken sandwich.

The Guardian reports that under its old, human-assisted guidelines, Facebook trends had been monitored to weed out potentially offensive or inappropriate items, and news curators stuck to a list of trusted media sources.

Earlier this month Facebook explained in a blogpost that the decision to drop people from the news module would allow it to operate at a greater scale.

“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,” a post by the site read.

“A more algorithmically driven process allows us to scale Trending to cover more topics and make it available to more people globally over time.”

Earlier this year, the Guardian had revealed the extent to which Facebook’s news algorithm was being guided by humans, which had in turn led to accusations of the social network spreading biased news reports. The network has reassured that the trending news feature was always intended to become completely autonomous and that it was meant to follow in the decisions made by the human editors.