Facebook Unveils New Trending Tool For News Stories

Facebook on Thursday (Jan. 16) unveiled “Trending,” a personalized list of topics and news stories trending in popularity to the right of the News Feed. The product will be available on Facebook’s web platform in select countries, while the company will continue to test iterations for mobile.
 
Trending has been rolling out in beta form to select Facebook users in the past few months, but was unveiled at mass this week to capitalize on news events like the Grammys, the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics and the return of “American Idol,” among many other breaking news events.

“Facebook is a place where people all over the world gather every day to share their thoughts and participate in real-time conversations, from the highlights of the Golden Globes to the passing of Nelson Mandela,” says Chris Struhar, engineering manager at Facebook.
 
The new product is the latest Twitter-like move from Facebook, which last summer rolled out hashtags to its userbase and to better synch with Instagram, which it acquired for $1 billion in 2012. But unlike Twitter, which currently lists the top 10 topics trending by a user’s specified geographic  region, Facebook’s Trending tells you why each topic is currently popular with brief headlines.  So for users who follow Bruce Springsteen, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and other music pages, their Trending feed on Wednesday (Jan. 15) would have delivered them headlines about Springsteen’s performance on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” Macklemore’s surprise New York City bus performance and Trace Adkins’ admission into rehab.