I make a concerted effort to avoid news on Facebook, for...a lot of reasons.
And, yet, thanks to Facebook's recently added Trending Topics sidebar, I can't escape a frequently updated feed of mostly horrific headlines. There's no option in Settings to remove this particular "feature."
Granted, you can customize it (after a fashion) by clicking the little "x" next to any story, then choosing your reason for not wanting to see that story. But you can't remove the box altogether, and even if you teach Facebook what kinds of stories you don't like, it's still a distraction.
Fortunately, if you want to keep Facebook "pure" and just get updates on what your friends are doing (the way Zuck intended!), there's a way to hide the Trending Topics box. All you need is F.B. Purity, a browser add-on for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari.
The tool can strip away tons of potentially unwanted Facebook elements, everything from notification pop-ups to shared events to photos and videos. For our purposes, though, let's focus just on banishing Trending Topics.
Once you've installed F.B. Purity (you may need to restart your browser), head to Facebook. You should see a newly added "FBP" option in the blue toolbar up top. Click it to access the plug-in's settings:
By default, the Newsfeed Filters are already on display, so just click the box next to Trending Topics (and/or anything else you want to hide). Then scroll down a bit and click Save & Close. Facebook will refresh with all the new changes in effect.
And that's it! No more Trending Topics. You're welcome.
By the way, F.B. Purity is donationware, so if you find it useful, be sure to throw a few bucks at the developer.