Here's Why Everyone Is Talking About A Fake Megyn Kelly Story

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Just three days after Facebook made headlines by dismissing the editors of its Trending Topics section, the feature made an easily avoidable mistake.

A story with a specious headline that Megyn Kelly had been ousted from Fox News as a secret supporter of Hillary Clinton began trending on the site. It was a bizarre claim, as even though her issues with Donald Trump are well-known, her main issues seem to be with other Fox News on-air talent. The post referenced, from a site called Conservative 101, takes a real Vanity Fair report about the divided newsroom and injects it with a wildly inappropriate dose of speculation. There's no sourcing, no real evidence, and the site is not credible. So, any human reading the "report" would instantly sniff it out as fake.

The article shot to the top of the Trending Topics section, outpacing other (real) stories like Kanye's VMA speech and video premiere, Anthony Weiner's latest sexting scandal, and Beyoncé’s VMA performance.

It's also a pretty obvious reminder of why people matter.

Though the tech giant came under fire when Gizmodo exposed an apparent bias against conservative-leaning news in its headlines, Mark Zuckerberg responded emphatically, so it's possible that this was a move geared towards removing conscious or unconscious bias. But it's easy to see how this feature almost immediately crashed and burned. TechCrunch writes that Facebook's Trending Topics are determined at least in part by the number of articles and posts on the topic. The topic was removed around 9:30 a.m. this morning. So while the article had a lot of heat, it also didn't pass a basic laugh test.

Humans have issues, like conscious and unconscious bias. But they're also able to, you know, contextualize information. So while the Treding Topics section will doubtless get better, it's also temporarily hamstrung by an inability to tell when something is a (really bad and boring) joke.
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