Facebook's Trending Topics algorithm surfaces fake and inappropriate news items

By midian182 ยท 19 replies
Aug 30, 2016
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  1. It looks as if Facebook’s recent decision to fire its entire Trending Topics editorial team and bring more automation to its news section isn’t working out as well as it hoped. Over the weekend, algorithms pushed a fake story about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly to the top of the trending list.

    The article claimed Kelly was “on her way out” of the conservative news channel for being “a closet liberal who actually wants Hillary to win.” It was published by a website called EndingTheFed.com, which features headlines such as: “What Obama Has to Say About ‘White Folks’ Will Make Your Blood Boil.” The site linked the Kelly story to another website called Conservative101.

    Facebook removed its editorial staff because it wants to use a more algorithmically driven process in it Trending Topics section. A small group of engineers continues to monitor items for newsworthiness, making sure popular topics such as #lunch, for example, don’t appear.

    A Facebook spokesperson said the Kelly story was accepted over the weekend because of the number of relevant articles and posts, but it was taken down yesterday due to its inaccuracy. The company said it was working on improving ways to detect fake and satirical stories.

    Other headlines recently appeared in the Trending Topics module that may have been picked out by the former curators for being inappropriate or offensive. These included an item with a sexist term used to describe Ann Coulter during a Comedy Central roast of Rob Lowe, and the #McChicken hashtag, which went viral after a video of a man enjoying a McChicken sandwich in an 'unconventional' manner was posted online.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2016
  2. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,040   +678

    Edit: oops. #mcchicken was mentioned.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  3. Hexic

    Hexic TS Maniac Posts: 332   +163

    I really want that 28 seconds of my life back...
    mbrowne5061, Reehahs and hahahanoobs like this.
  4. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 953   +515

    Didn't Microsoft prove recently that machine learning still has a ways to go? Lol
    Phr3d likes this.
  5. risc32

    risc32 TS Addict Posts: 209   +96

    That photo isn't Megan Kelly.
  6. who's Megan Kelly? The person in question is Megyn Kelly formerly Megyn Kendall.
  7. Levi Sterling

    Levi Sterling TS Booster Posts: 80   +26

    That's still a picture of Ann Coulter
    Raoul Duke likes this.
  8. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,867   +1,286

    The article does mention Coulter, too, who's arguably better-known so that might be why they used that pic.
    Levi Sterling likes this.
  9. Thanks for clearing that up. I had never heard of Megyn Kelly before. They talk about her right under the picture so I would have assumed it was her. Have heard of Coulter, but not familiar with her appearance either.
    Levi Sterling likes this.
  10. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    Kelly is the Fox News chick who cut her hair after Trump dissed her: [​IMG]
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,518

    You know, her with that hair cut has made me sore afraid to "click the image to show the full sized version", button.

    In any case, here's artist Boris Vallejo's interpretation of, "The Donald versus Medusa Kelly"
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  12. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +84

    Yep, someday I may be so very desperate for news that I tune in there and see if I can tell the difference, lol..
    (@crank: in derdonald's Dreams, perhaps)
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  13. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,688

    That thought crossed my mind as well. Donald probably didn't look that fit in his prime.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,518

    All Trump's power is in his pompadour, which is eternal:


    I'm just afraid he'll accidentally look in Hillary's direction during the debates, and get turned to stone..:eek: :oops:
  15. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +84

    And I'm trying so hard to imagine that being a Bad thing.. apologies (if necessary) to the political among you - just tryin' to make a funny.. (Trumpstone, meet the Trumpstone..)
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,518

    Oh well, maybe the Donald won't even show up to the debates. It's highly doubtful he would be willing to stand there for a couple of hours, arguing with a woman her age, who's more than likely never had a boob job
  17. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,713   +3,688

    So all we need to do is take his toupee and it would be the same effect as giving Samson a haircut?
    Yeah lets wait till after he deals with the snake lady, before we take his pompadour.
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,518

    Herewith is "music to cut the Donald's toupee by". KD Lang performs "Hallelujah" at the 2010 Olympics.

    I hope you two appreciate how much effort it took to find a woman butch enough to represent Hillary by wearing a pants suit while performing.

    BTW, this is the best version of this song I've ever heard. (The haircut happens in the second verse).
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  19. Phr3d

    Phr3d TS Guru Posts: 404   +84

    Effort is your middle name? or summat.. Thanks, but I just can't get the hate part.. I hates election years, under the Best of circumstances it tends Not to bring out people's highest values -- and this definitely qualifies as NOT the best of years..
    I know who -I- am voting Against, as that seems to be the '16 Theme (unless we open the debate to another voice).
    I have seen so few voices exclaiming Positive for a candidate, only, Ever:
    " the other 'un SUX!!!!!!!!!!!!! "
    I can't see that as enuf.
    I am just too jaded and Too Damned Tired for this stupid political shyt anymore..
  20. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,961   +2,518

    So then, the "hate is yours", I'm just extracting what little humor out of the situation I can.

    The picture by Vallejo of Perseus with the massive pompadour, a la Trump. KD Lang in a pants suit a la Hillary..

    And last but not least, the newscaster who had her hair cut as a result of some altercation with Trump, cast as "Medusa", with a head full of snakes.

    Satire defines my "politics", which I've leveled against both candidates without "discrimination".. I'll leave the real hate to those who feel the need to emphasize their political frustration with serial exclamation points, sic "!!!!!!!!!".

    Besides, "democracy" is a farce anyway. A "candidate" is just something which was created by a "political machine", "funded by industry", and rammed down your throat with excessive advertising.

    But then really, if it were the case a "grass roots candidate", could make an impact, you might have some imbecile like Kanye West as a "viable candidate", along with Kim Kardashian as a potential "first concubine".
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
    Phr3d likes this.

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