Facebook is shutting down its Trending Topics section

In place of the Trending section, Facebook will focus on delivering high quality, reliable news via mobile and video, areas where it's seen users gravitate to get their news fix.

However, it was only available in five countries and accounted for less than 1.5% of clicks to news publishers on average.

The section, which appears to the right of the main news feed on the desktop and in search on mobile, has been a lightning rod for criticism nearly since its launch in 2014.

Facebook drew fire after actors linked to Russian Federation ran thousands of ads on the platform in an effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

Problems with the trending section emerged in 2016, when the company was accused of bias against conservatives, based on comments by an anonymous former contractor.

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Conservatives were outraged by allegations in 2016 that news curators had suppressed articles from right-leaning news outlets from being featured. Facebook also wants to make local news more prominent.

According to research from Pew, about 44 percent of USA adults get news from Facebook.

Over 80 news publishers are now testing the "breaking news" label, which allows them to opt to flag their Instant Articles, mobile and web links, and Facebook Live video as breaking news, the company tells us.

Active since 2014, the section highlighted three top news stories trending across the platform, though how Facebook decided which news items to include there often came under scrutiny.

According to Hardiman, Facebook will soon have a dedicated section on Facebook Watch in the USA where people can view live coverage, daily news briefings and weekly features that will be exclusive to Watch.

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Facebook didn't mention if any of these past incidents factored into its decision to retire Trending. The company continued to modify the section, but Facebook said that over time it became less useful to users.

Facebook didn't announce any plans to bring back Trending, or some version of it in the future.

Another feature, called "Today In", shows people breaking news in their area from local publishers, officials and organizations.

He said the Trending feature would be removed "soon".

The site is also reportedly working on a live coverage news section as part of Facebook Watch.

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Hardiman said ending the trending section feels like letting a child go.

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