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Facebook 'Trending Topics' Highlights Fake News Story

MENLO PARK (CBS SF) – After reportedly laying off the editorial staff of its "Trending Topics" section in favor of an algorithm, Facebook is facing new controversy after the section highlighted a false news story.

According to the Washington Post, a story that wrongly claimed Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had been fired was listed as a Trending item for several hours before it was removed from the section Monday morning.

Before it was taken down, the story had more than 200,000 likes.

Quartz reported that the social network laid off more than a dozen people in a New York office who had kept Trending Topics running for nearly two years last Friday. Before the layoffs, the staff used an algorithm to curate trending news and would write up a description summarizing the story.

Under the new system, the algorithm pulls excerpts directly from news stories.

Earlier this year, Trending Topics was faced scrutiny after tech website Gizmodo reported on alleged bias against conservative topics and news sources. Facebook said its own investigation found "no evidence of systematic bias."

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