Millions of Facebook users were left confused when the social media giant’s news trending algorithm put a hoax story about 9/11 at top of its list, linking to an article by The Daily Star which claimed that controlled explosions destroyed the World Trade Centre Towers in 2001.
The September 11 attacks (also referred to as 9/11) were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda on the United States on the morning of September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people and injured over 6,000 others and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage and $3 trillion in total costs.
“We’re aware a hoax article showed up there and as a temporary step to resolving this we’ve removed the topic,” tech website CNET quoted a Facebook spokesman as saying on Friday.
Facebook currently has more than a billion monthly active users, and it’s ‘Trending Topics’ is prominent section for views, irrespective of whether stories are true or not.
The 9/11 attack, like other trending topics, had landed on the list organically, from people anticipating the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attack, but the link associated with the topic had been plagued by the hoax article, the report noted.
The articles on the ‘Trending Topics’ section are placed through an algorithm based on relevancy and time posted.
It replaces the links after an undetermined amount of time, without any human supervision or quality control, the report added.