Facebook launches a ‘Trending’ box


Facebook's "Trending" feature will show popular topics of conversation on the world’s largest social network. (Facebook)
January 16, 2014

Facebook said Thursday that it’s launching a new feature, called “Trending,” that will show popular topics of conversation on the world’s largest social network.

The product is “designed to surface interesting and relevant conversations in order to help you discover the best content from all across Facebook,” the company’s engineering manager, Chris Struhar, said in a company blog post,

The move is one of several initiatives Facebook has taken toward its goal in becoming a go-to destination for finding out what’s hot on the Web.

Social network users generally turn to real-time networks such as Twitter to get a read on which topics are hot on social media. While Facebook is much larger — over 1 billion users compared with Twitter’s estimate of over 200 million active users — its users tend to see the site as more of a place to catch up on their personal networks than to learn about the hottest topics of the moment.

If all the hand-wringing about Facebook losing popularity among the younger crowd proves to be a long-term problem, this market could become important for the social network’s ability to keep and add followers. Facebook already offers users the ability to label conversations with Twitter’s signature hashtag — that’s the “#,” for the uninitiated — on the site to mark a post as part of a larger, public conversation.

With Trending, users will see a box pop up at the top of their home feed pages listing trending topics. They can then click on a topic to see the relevant public posts and posts from friends.

Facebook used the example of the recent Golden Globes to show off how the feature works — basically as a way to keep you from missing any snarky comments your friends may have made about red carpet disasters or freakouts about Kerry Washington’s baby bump.

The feature is rolling out over the Web in several countries, Struhar said, and the company is testing it for mobile devices.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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