Facebook has been under scrutiny for a while since they stopped using human curators for its trending topics thanks to a damning report which revealed the working conditions of the people maintaining it. They moved on to a bland algorithimically driven system where the topics didn’t feature captions as displayed by the previous human curated system.
However, this system is not shy of controversy as the Washington Post reports where they found out that some news items being populated in the list were actually fake.
The publication has been tracking Facebook’s Trending Stories between August 31st and September 22nd where they found out that five trending stories were fake and three were “profoundly inaccurate.” In addition, they found out that links to services like iTunes, blog-posts from Medium trended which was rather interesting.
To add fire into the controversy, the publication got a statement from a former member of the team that used to maintain the trending stories page. “I’m not at all surprised how many fake stories have trended,” he told the Post, “It was beyond predictable by anyone who spent time with the actual functionality of the product, not just the code.”
Facebook is a major news outlet for a lot of users out there and the fact that it could be surfacing fake news items is a huge flaw for the system that powers the trending stories page. The company is under fire for the underlying integrity of its algorithmically powered trending stories page and it will have to put in more effort in order to position it as a credible stories of the top stories that are being shared on the network.