Facebook Battles Fake Stories In Trending Section With New Algorithm

Sep 15, 2016 05:38 AM EDT | Julie Bedas

Facebook might not be a media company, but many of its users try to get their daily news from the platform because of its accessibility. The company came under criticism recently when it decided to completely replace its human editors with a technological algorithm that ultimately backfired when fake news started trending.

Facebook will roll out a new update to combat the onslaught of fake stories which can unintentionally put inaccurate and erroneous information to its millions of users. The company made this announcement during a TechCrunch Disrupt conference. 

The decision to get rid of human editors was to avoid the bias that comes with human nature. However, many users claim that the human editors were better than the sloppy work being produced by its new tech algorithm. 

Facebook News Feed head Adam Mosseri said that the lack of human involvement was not entirely to blame for the appearance of fake stories. A sensational hoax story could still have trended in the platform even before the change. 

The algorithm works better for Facebook users who don't speak English.  

"A system where we talk about the topic and the number of people speaking about the topic actually scales better internationally. And we care a lot about scaling," TechCrunch's Josh Constine explained.

It is evident that the company still needs to make a lot of developments on its trending algorithm. Just recently, a tabloid story by the Daily Star about 9/11 made it to the trending topic leading many users to click on the fake story.

The News Feed section of Facebook has managed to develop its system to suppress the appearance of hoaxes, clickbait and fake stories. The company is working to work out the same thing in Trending. 

Mosseri believes that both the News Feed and the Trending algorithms are good but there's still a lot of room for improvement.

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