Facebook Automated Trending Section Posts Fake Megyn Kelly Story

Facebook’s popular Trending section suffered a major mishap Monday, just three days after its programming switched from human hands to an automated algorithm.

The section, which is featured on the top right of the social network’s pages, posted an erroneous report that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was fired from the network. The Washington Post was first to report Facebook’s error.

Kelly’s name topped the Trending section on Monday morning. Before Friday, a brief description would appear alongside a topic, explaining why it was trending. However, Facebook removed the editor-written descriptions with the algorithm switch.

After the change, Facebook users could still hover above a trending topic and get a pop-up description. The headline for the one for Kelly read: “BREAKING: Fox News Exposes Traitor Megyn Kelly, Kicks Her Out For Backing Hillary.” See a screenshot below.

Fake Facebook story about Megyn Kelly firing

It was followed by a typo-filled description that read, “The Klelly [sic] File’s ratings have even fallen behind Maddow Show on MSNB [sic].” Those errors alone would’ve led human editors to question the legitimacy of the piece, but the story was posted regardless.

When rolling out the automated algorithm last Friday, Facebook explained “a search results page will include the news sources that are covering it, posts discussing it and an automatically selected original news story with an excerpt pulled directly from the top article itself.” In this case, the original news story was factually incorrect.

The Kelly post was reportedly in the Trending section for several hours before it was removed. Facebook has yet to respond to the error.

The removal of human editors and hand-written descriptions last week came after Gizmodo reported stories with a conservative tone or subject were being suppressed from the Trending section back in May. CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded, “We take this report very seriously and are conducting a full investigation to ensure our teams upheld the integrity of this product.” Following the investigation of political bias, Zuckerberg said, “We have found no evidence that this report is true.” Zuckerberg also met with conservatives, including radio host Glenn Beck and Donald Trump policy advisor Barry Bennett, to discuss “Trending.”

More Digital

  • iheartmedia logo

    iHeartMedia Stock Drops in NASDAQ Debut

    Shares of iHeartMedia, the U.S.’s biggest radio network, fell as much as 7% after they commenced trading Thursday on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. Last month, after exiting a year-long bankruptcy reorg, iHeartMedia announced it was approved for listing on NASDAQ, instead of pursuing an IPO. The company’s shares had previously been traded over-the-counter under [...]

  • iHeartMedia-Pride-Media-TheOutcast-Logo

    iHeartMedia, Pride Media to Co-Produce Slate of LGBTQ+ Podcasts

    iHeartMedia is teaming with Pride Media, the media company whose brands include Out, The Advocate and Pride, to co-produce a slate of LGBTQ+ podcasts in 2019-20. The partnership will kick off with “The Outcast,” an iHeartRadio original podcast co-produced with Out Magazine. Hosted by Out Magazine deputy editor Fran Tirado, the weekly podcast will explore [...]

  • Netflix Reed Hastings

    Netflix Shares Dive After Q2 Stumble: Just a Hiccup or Sign of Bigger Trouble?

    Netflix badly undershot its subscriber forecasts for the second quarter of 2019 — posting its first net U.S. customer decline since 2011 while growth slowed considerably overseas. The company added 2.7 million subs worldwide, almost half as many as the 5 million it had projected. With the big miss, Netflix shares took a predictable hit, [...]

  • Terminator: Dark Fate

    Comic-Con: ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Cast Will Hit Reddit Live-Streamed AMA (EXCLUSIVE)

    Arnold is back — and he and other cast members of “Terminator: Dark Fate” are joining a first-of-its-kind live-streaming Reddit AMA on Thursday from Comic-Con International in San Diego. For the new installment in the “Terminator” franchise, Paramount Pictures is hosting a traditional Comic-Con panel Thursday 11 a.m.-12 noon in Hall H. Then, a few [...]

  • Time Immersive app

    Time Immersive App Launches With Moon Landing AR Experience

    Time launched a new mobile app for immersive journalism Thursday, complete with an augmented reality experience that visualizes the moon landing in a user’s living room. “Landing on the Moon” has been produced with help from Industrial Light & Magic chief creative officer John Knoll, who has been researching the Apollo 11 mission for close [...]

  • Illustration of the video streaming company

    Netflix Insists It Won't Move Into Selling Advertising

    Netflix wants you to know: It doesn’t have any plans now or in the future to start running commercials on its streaming service. Company execs have have regularly explained that being ad-free is a core part of Netflix’s attractiveness to consumers, and the strategy has been a standard part of its “Long-Term View” mission statement [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content