Facebook is updating Trending, the section of the service that highlights popular topics being discussed on Facebook, to better prevent fake news stories from appearing there.
As part of the update, Facebook says it's going to stop pulling in trending topics that surface based off a single news report. Instead, it'll feature topics that have been covered by a number of media outlets, an attempt to avoid one-off fake news stories that get lots of people talking but haven't been vetted by other media organizations.
"We think it'll help [minimize] cases where maybe one specific story goes viral even if there might not be something real going on in the world about that story," said Will Cathcart, a VP of product management at Facebook.
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As with all Facebook algorithms, the specific mix of signals that might result in something trending is kept behind a curtain. There's no hard and fast rule for how many outlets need to cover a topic or event before it qualifies as Trending, for example. And even if a bunch of publishers cover a topic because of a fake news story, that topic could still show up in Trending.
"Multiple publishers need [to be writing] about the topic," Cathcart added. "They could also say different things and have different takes on it."