Facebook Thursday began the rollout of a new, Twitter-like feature called Trending, which it began testing last August, adding a list of topics that have “spiked in popularity” to the right-hand side of users’ News Feeds. The social network said Trending began rolling out Thursday in the U.S., U.K., Canada, India, and Australia, adding that it is also testing a mobile version of the feature.
The Wall Street Journal reported last August that Facebook was testing a Trending module in News Feed, which Facebook confirmed with the following statement to the newspaper:
We are running a small test of a unit on News Feed. Right now, it is only available to a small percentage of U.S. users, and it is still in the early stages of development.
The social network said in a Newsroom post that users’ Trending lists will be personalized based on their interests, in addition to including topics that are spiking throughout Facebook, and each topic listed will include a headline explaining why that topic is trending.
Clicking on those headlines will bring up posts from friends and pages about those trending topics.
Facebook also provided more information on its new Trending feature, in Q&A form:
Where will Trending be available? We will be rolling it out on desktop in the U.S., U.K., Canada, India, and Australia.
What causes something to “trend” on Facebook? Trends are identified by an algorithm that highlights topics that have had a sharp increase in popularity, as opposed to overall volume for a given subject. For example, the term “lunch”: is talked about during lunchtime every day around the world, but it will not be displayed through our Trending feature.
What kind of posts will I see in the Trending feed? The posts included in the feed are determined as the most relevant and engaging content related to the Trending topic. You will see posts from friends and public pages, such as news organizations, celebrities, and public figures. Posts from the people or pages you are connected with will rank higher in the feed.
How quickly do the trends refresh? The trends are reflective of what is being talked about by people on Facebook, so they’re constantly updating.
Can Trending topics be sponsored or promoted? Not at this time.
Readers: Do you have the new Trending feature yet and, if so, what topics are showing up for you?