Facebook is taking a page right out of Twitter’s book by showing trending stories right in your news News Feed. The new feature will show up in the top right corner of your feed, and display some of the most popular topics around the Internet. An example would be the recent Clayton Kershaw deal with the Dodgers, or J.C. Penney’s decision to shutter 33 stores around the U.S. I have yet to see the new feature show up in my feed, but you’ll supposedly be able to see trends start to populate throughout the day. Facebook said its trending feature will be personalized to your interests, so instead of seeing posts about Miley Cyrus, you’ll presumably see tech news, or whatever you’re interested in.
When you do click on a story, you’ll be taken to a central landing pages with all relevant posts and other stories. The nice thing about Facebook’s take on trending stories is that it gives you the topic, and then a short preview of what that particular story is about. Twitter, on the other hand, simply shows off hashtags, with no indication on what you’re about to start reading. In Facebook’s own words, the trending area is meant to provide a headline, context around that topic, and what is causing that story to trend. “We have rules in place that work to select concise, accurate, informative headlines,” Facebook said.
Facebook has been slowly borrowing some of Twitter’s biggest features, including hashtags, verified profiles and embeddable posts, among others. This latest feature is designed to turn Facebook into a viable source of information—it won’t just be spammy links shared by an old high school friend. At least that’s the hope. TechCrunch got its hands on the trending feature already, and said Facebook’s suggestions were inaccurate and bland, though other users might have a different experience.
Not just a place to tell people you “Ate a sandwich,” Facebook is quickly becoming a place to discuss what’s happening on the Internet and around the globe. I’ll be curious to see what trending topics begin filling by feed. With Facebook supposedly working on a new Paper reader service, the arrival of trending topics seems like a natural fit for Flipboard-like consumption.