Facebook hijacks Trending feature from rival Twitter

Social network tries to grab some immediacy from Twitter with new feature

Taking another page from social rival Twitter, Facebook is launching a new Trending feature that will show users the most popular topics being discussed on the social network.

The feature, which begins rolling out to users today, will list a series of topics that are spiking in popularity on Facebook. The list will appear in the top right of users' news feeds.

Trending is yet another move in Facebook's plan to supplant Twitter as the social network people rush to when something of high interest -- like the Golden Globe awards, a natural disaster or a significant crime - is happening.

Facebook may be the largest social network, but Twitter has the edge on its rival in one specific area -- immediacy.

Twitter dominates in real-time discussions about high interest events, so if users want to comment on the dress an actress is wearing at an awards event, they'll turn to Twitter. The same goes for users who want to support a political candidate or mock something one of them said during a live debate.

When a national or international event happens, Twitter lights up with activity. It's the site people turn to when they want to vent, comment or check out everyone else's reaction.

Facebook wants a piece of that action.

Last year, Facebook started to roll out Twitter-like hashtags and began testing Trending Topics, which tracks what users are talking about most on the site.

That Trending feature has officially gone live.

"Facebook is a space where people from 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," wrote Chris Struhar, an engineering manager at Facebook, in a blog post. "Today we're announcing Trending, a new product that's designed to surface interesting and relevant conversations in order to help you discover the best content from all across Facebook."

Struhar noted that the Trending results will be personalized to each user's interests.

"Each topic is accompanied by a headline that briefly explains why it is trending," he added. "You can click on any headline to see the most interesting posts from your friends or pages that are talking about that particular topic."

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said giving users information about Trending topics is a key step for Facebook to meet its larger goal of becoming the leading hub for online news and events.

"Having it as part of the Facebook homepage means users of Facebook don't need to switch to Google or Twitter," he said. "I do think it's a smart and, in some ways, a mandatory move if Facebook is to truly be the top dog in disseminating news."

There could be a problem however if Facebook users see an interesting Trending topic and then switch over to Twitter to get in on the conversation there.

That could be a dilemma since Facebook has lacked a sense of immediacy about current events, said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Current Analysis. He also noted that Facebook is wise to keep adding features to keep the site fresh.

Facebook is working on moving the feature to mobile.

This article, Facebook hijacks Trending feature from rival Twitter, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about social media in Computerworld's Social Media Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Launch marketing council Episode 5: Retailer and supplier

In our fifth and final episode, we delve into the relationship between retailer and supplier and how it drives and influences launch marketing strategies and success. To do that, we’re joined by Campbell Davies, group general manager of Associated Retailers Limited, and Kristin Viccars, marketing director A/NZ, Apex Tool Group. Also featured are Five by Five Global managing director, Matt Lawton, and CMO’s Nadia Cameron.

More Videos

Hi,When online retailers establish their multi channel strategy and they are using or will to use live chatbot to support their customers...

Alice Labs Pte. Ltd.

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 6 May 2021

Read more

Thanks for nice information regarding Account-based Marketing. PRO IT MELBOURNE is best SEO Agency in Melbourne have a team of profession...

PRO IT MELBOURNE

Cultivating engaging content in Account-based Marketing (ABM)

Read more

The best part: optimizing your site for SEO enables you to generate high traffic, and hence free B2B lead generation. This is done throug...

Sergiu Alexei

The top 6 content challenges facing B2B firms

Read more

Nowadays, when everything is being done online, it is good to know that someone is trying to make an improvement. As a company, you are o...

Marcus

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

Check out tiny twig for comfy and soft organic baby clothes.

Morgan mendoza

Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

Blog Posts

Getting privacy right in a first-party data world

With continued advances in marketing technology, data privacy continues to play catchup in terms of regulation, safety and use. The laws that do exist are open to interpretation and potential misuse and that has led to consumer mistrust and increasing calls for a stronger regulatory framework to protect personal information.

Furqan Wasif

Head of biddable media, Tug

​Beyond greenwashing: Why brands need to get their house in order first

Environmental, Social and (Corporate) Governance is a hot topic for brands right now. But before you start thinking about doing good, Craig Flanders says you best sort out the basics.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

​The value of collaboration: how to keep it together

Through the ages, from the fields to the factories to the office towers and now to our kitchen tables, collaboration has played a pivotal role in how we live and work. Together. We find partners, live as families, socialise in groups and work as teams. Ultimately, we rely on these collaborative structures to survive and thrive.

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in