Today, Facebook launched a new social feature called Trending to all users in the US, UK, Canada, India and Australia. It will roll out to all users in specific countries over the next few weeks, and as the company tests a mobile version of the feature.

In short, the new Trending widget in the top right of your news feed shows lists of words and phrases, similar to hashtags on competing social media platform Twitter, that are being used very frequently across Facebook. Clicking on one will bring up a newly-populated news feed with images and posts related to the topic. Additionally, the entire spread of top trending topics will be displayed on the right-hand side, in case you’ve got enough time to keep perusing.

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This could be used to keep users updated on breaking news that’s being discussed: politics, sporting events and even television premieres.

But where Trending goes head-to-head with the #hashtag isn’t really so much at an aesthetic level, but at a functional one. Mainly, Facebook’s Trending feature tells you what’s trending, followed by a short sentence offering more context. With Twitter, you’re left to derive for yourself why a keyword or phrase is trending, and discovering why is usually the product of reading several tweets from a search of the keyword – arguably less intuitive than Facebook’s approach.


Additionally, Trending is built around Facebook’s wealth of data available to them, meaning they can customize the overall trends that are displayed to suit your interests.

“Topics are personalized based on things you’re interested in and what is trending across Facebook overall,” Facebook told TechCrunch.

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Both sites considered, Trending and Twitter hashtags serve users differently – and how you use each may vary. And after all, Twitter is about quick and dirty updates moment-to-moment, so it may always be the preferred platform for breaking news.

But we’ll just have to see how both evolve this year.


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