Facebook will now surface trending topics alongside the News Feed, using a new product the company simply calls “trending.” Trending will show a personalized list of popular topics for each user, combining their interests with content getting the most attention across the entire platform, Facebook announced on Thursday.
Each trend will include a short description, and users can click on the trend to see a list of posts and articles related to that topic.
Facebook will determine which topics are trending with an algorithm intended to recognize “a sharp increase in popularity,” not necessarily a large volume of posts or articles about a particular subject, according to a spokesperson. In other words, subjects that are always popular on Facebook won’t always be trending; this will only happen when that subject experiences a spike in mentions.
At least for now, trending posts will not include sponsored or promoted content, although there seems to be ample opportunity for doing so in the future.
The new tool is yet another feature added to Facebook that users have come to associate with Twitter. The microblogging network has offered trending topics alongside the main Twitter feed for years, and also lets advertisers purchase “promoted trends.” Facebook took another page out of Twitter’s playbook when it added hashtags in June, a feature popularized by microblogging network.
In 2012, Facebook started using the term “followers” to describe those who sign up to receive posts from people they’re not friends with on the network. Facebook had previously used the term “subscribers,” but switched to followers, which was used more regularly on Twitter.
Facebook will start rolling out Trending on Thursday, and the feature should be available to all desktop users in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, India and Australia in the “coming weeks,” according to a spokesperson. Trending was already available to a handful of test users, as are most new products rolled out by Facebook.
Facebook will also test Trending on mobile beginning Thursday.
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