"Trending topics" are bull, says Select All. These little modules on social media sites are swamps of banality and disinformation. This week, YouTube's trending page included a conspiracy-theory video, which claims that the Stoneman Douglas High School students fighting for gun control are actually paid actors. (Narrator voice: They're not.)
Photo by Harald Groven
As Select All points out, these modules don't list the very most popular topics; instead they're driven by black-box algorithms that factor in the rate of a discussion's growth, the source, and god knows what other data. Yet they still spit out unreliable information, and they're still factories for hashtag spam. Select All proposes getting rid of them altogether. Here's how to do that in your feed:
- On Facebook, the F.B. Purity Chrome extension will remove trending topics and several other common annoyances. (You can turn everything else back on.) F.B. Purity is also available for Firefox, Edge, Safari and Opera.
- On Twitter, the Hide Twitter Guff Chrome extension removes promoted tweets, ads, Who to Follow, and Twitter Trends. (You can turn Who to Follow back on.) It's also available for Firefox.
- On YouTube, we haven't yet found a workable solution to entirely hide trending videos. If you're seeing trending videos on the homepage, try logging in and subscribing to a couple of channels.
Together, we can go off-trend.