Trends is a feature on social media silos that shows the some of the most popular hashtags (AKA Trending hashtags), links, news articles, words, or phrases that are being used or cited in posts, and have been criticized on Facebook & Twitter for being manipulated by bots and/or showing conspiracy theories at the top.
State Level Actor Manipulation
Facebook and Twitter have been criticized for not recognizing or identifying when trending hashtags may be the result of bot accounts run by state level actors (e.g. Russia) artificially inflating the popularity of particular politically motivated hashtags.
- 2018-01-31 Democrats lashed Facebook and Twitter for not fully investigating if Russian bots spread the #ReleasetheMemo campaign
Showing Conspiracy Theories First
Facebook has been criticized for showing conspiracy theories at the top of their "People Are Saying" for news articles in their Trending News section.
- 2018-01-31: from: https://twitter.com/oneunderscore__/status/958786714562105345
- Facebook Master Algorithm
- "Here is a killer quote for all you growth managers from @ndiakopoulos ‘trending is over’ and he is right. https://www.cjr.org/tow_center/bots-manipulate-trends.php" @emilybell April 3, 2018
- Apparently influences POTUS45: https://boingboing.net/2020/07/27/trump-tweets-that-twitters-t.html
- Criticism: https://twitter.com/mozilla/status/1311399166338367497
- Criticism: low quality content is rapidly amplified: https://twitter.com/kateconger/status/1314597534623391749
- "Third, Twitter is adding context tabs for ALL trends seen in the "For You" pages of users in the United States. Trends have been blamed for a lot of low-quality content going viral. I wrote about earlier efforts to fact-check Trends here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/01/technology/twitter-trending-topics.html" @kateconger October 9, 2020
- 2020 Mozilla: #UnTrendTwitter