Facebook lets go of Trending Topics team to cull bias – report

MANILA, Philippines – Facebook is reportedly taking out one human factor that may be adding bias to the social network's Trending section.

A Quartz report, citing multiple sources, said on late Friday, August 26, US time, that Facebook laid off the whole editorial staff that made up the Trending team – some 15 to 18 workers contracted by a third party to work on the project.

The report added the Trending team "will now be staffed entirely by engineers, who will work to check that topics and articles surfaced by the algorithms are newsworthy."

Sources also said the Trending team was alerted of their firing at 4:00 pm, and asked to leave the building by 5:00 pm. Sources added the contractors – who were with Facebook for less than 1.5 years – were given severance equal to pay through September 1, plus two weeks.

Facebook, in a post, added that humans will still have a part to play in Trending. A new team is being asked to work on correcting algorithm mistakes, such as keeping mundane stories from showing up as news. – Rappler.com

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.