Facebook's new 'Trending' algorithm went very NSFW over the bank holiday weekend

Louis Dor
Tuesday 30 August 2016 17:30
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Picture: Getty

In a blogpost on Friday, Facebook announced that it had eliminated jobs in its "Trending" stories module, which was previously hand-curated by staff.

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

Although Facebook stressed that the process did involve humans...

There are still people involved in this process to ensure that the topics that appear in Trending remain high-quality — for example, confirming that a topic is tied to a current news event in the real world.

...it seemingly did not stop some less-than-high-quality stories being curated.

One was headlined: "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, despite the claims of an article published by Ending the Fed.

The approved article was later removed from the trending section.

Other headlines reported by the Guardian to have appeared on the site include 'SNL Star Calls Ann Coulter a "Racist C*nt"', and 'The terrible reason #McChicken is trending on Twitter'.

The latter was based on a hashtag's popularity after a video was posted online of a man masturbating with the aid of a McChicken sandwich.

In a statement obtained by Erik Wemple at The Washington Post, Justin Osofsky, vice president of global operations at Facebook said:

This was a mistake for which we apologize, and it has been corrected.

We’re working to make our detection of hoax and satirical stories quicker and more accurate.

HT Guardian

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