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Facebook Launches ‘Trending’ to Highlight the Most Viral Content on Facebook

Since summertime, when a list of trending topics was spotted in the mobile Facebook News Feed, rumors have been circulating about Facebook building a trending topics list similar to Twitter’s. Well, gossip no more because today Facebook announced that the feature is very real, and that it’s already here!

 

What’s ‘Trending’ on Facebook?

Screenshot of Facebook Trending feature

On its blog Facebook introduced ‘Trending,’ a new list of topics that have recently spiked in popularity on Facebook. The list will appear to the right of your News Feed on the Web, and each list item will be accompanied by a headline that explains why it is trending. Clicking any headline will bring you to a page of posts from Pages and your friends on that topic.

Screenshot of topic page from Facebook Trending

The list each person sees on their homepage will be slightly different, since part of the content is curated based on things each user is interested in. Clicking “See More” will expand the Trending list down the right side of the homepage.

 

Is Facebook Steering Toward News Consumption?

facebook trending list extended

Though Facebook has all the gears (media sites running active Pages, over 1 billion monthly active users, a News Feed able to surface important content) in place to become a leading news aggregator, the network has yet to significantly alter its News Feed algorithms in a way that will give prominence to quality stories as opposed to viral lists and pictures of cute pups. After introducing hashtags, though, a useful resource for following news stories, enlarging image previews for articles links and acquiring journalist-beloved Branch, I’m starting to wonder if Facebook is serious about getting into the news game. If Facebook can manage to keep Trending useful, as opposed to just another way to sell ads, I’d regain some faith in the worth of the network.

 
Trending is still rolling out on the Web to users in the U.S., the UK, Canada, India and Australia, according to Inside Facebook. Additionally, Facebook says its developers will “continue to test on mobile,” so be on the lookout next time you use Facebook on your iPhone!

Do you see Trending next to your News Feed yet? What do you think of the new feature?

   
 
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