Facebook featured a 9/11 conspiracy theory on its Trending topics list Friday morning, linking to a story claiming bombs, not planes, caused the Twin Towers to fall in 2001.
The algorithm responsible for the Trending list surfaced the story days before the attack’s 15th anniversary, and the link led to a Daily Star article claiming “leading engineers believe the Twin Towers may have collapsed due to a ‘controlled demolition’ – something it is claimed there is video evidence to support.”
The story seemed to disappear and reappear on Facebook’s Trending list shortly after 8 a.m., trading spots with another story about a ray of sunlight reflecting off the World Trade Center days before the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attack.
The listing is not the first stumble for Facebook’s Trending feature after the company announced in August it would stop employing human editors to manage the list.
The feature now relies entirely on an algorithm to select news headlines relevant to its users, and days after announcing the change, the algorithm promoted another incorrect story claiming that Megyn Kelly was a “traitor” and had been fired from Fox News. The anchor remains with the network.
Facebook’s media team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.