Jun 1, 2018 - Technology

Facebook is ditching the "Trending" news section

Photo: Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook is doing away with the controversial "Trending" news section next week, the company announced on Friday.

Why it matters: The section, which it introduced in 2014, was meant to help users get an easy view of the top news during the day, but Facebook says that it ultimately drove less than 1.5% of clicks to publishers on average. The feature has also come under fire more than once — most heavily in 2016, when Gizmodo reported on the human curators' practices and raised charges that the social network suppressed conservative news.

Why now: There are two motivations for Facebook. One, it has said it is looking to decrease news overall in favor of posts from friends. Second, by removing trending it won’t be criticized for promoting fake news or bad sources.

Between the lines: Facebook, like other giant tech companies, has always maintained that it's not a media company and doesn't want to make news judgments, but instead should serve as a platform for news organizations to reach the public — and for users to make choices among those publishers. The company says it is planning to give publishers new tools to flag breaking stories and feature local news content.

What's next

Bolton alleges in book that Trump tied Ukraine aid to investigations

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him "he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens," the New York Times first reported.

Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden.

Honoring Kobe Bryant: Sports stars, politicians and celebrities mourn NBA great

Kobe Bryant on court for the Los Angeles Lakers during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center in Dallas in February 2010. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Sports stars, politicians and celebrities paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a California helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on Saturday. He was 41.

What they're saying: Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal said in an Instagram post of his former teammate, "There's no words to express the pain I'm going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed."

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Sports

What's next: Trump's broader travel ban

A sign for International Arrivals is shown at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP

President Trump is expected to announce an expanded travel ban this week, which would restrict immigration from seven additional countries — Nigeria, Myanmar, Sudan, Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania, per multiple reports.

  • The announcement would come on the third anniversary of Trump's original travel ban, which targeted Muslim-majority nations, per Axios' Stef Kight.