Facebook has released a new feature similar to one Twitter has offered for quite some time. A new trending box will appear on the top right side of your Facebook news stream page.
Facebook's trending topics will highlight links to popular stories on Facebook. Clicking through to these topics will show you what other people are saying about it.
The new trending future is designed to get people talking about interesting things that are happening in the world, as well as to keep Facebook users informed of news and other trending topics. It is personalized to each user, so in addition to seeing topics based on things you're interested in, you'll also see what's trending across Facebook overall.
Here are a couple of screenshots showing what the feature looks like:
In the Golden Globe example, the screenshot shows a link to a BuzzFeed story about the Golden Globes, Kelly Osbourne showing a rehearsal photo she shared along with her comments, and finally a link to an ABC news story about a Golden Globes' attendee.
It's unclear how these stories and headlines are curated by Facebook, but each story and link on the trending is landing page also shows the number of comments, shares, and likes for each.
Trending is rolling out now, so you might not see it active in your accounts yet. For those who have it, they are definitely reporting it as being very heavily skewed toward fluffier news, like celebrity current events and sports headlines rather than CNN or world news.
Twitter has long taken advantage of the trending topics idea, so it's not too surprising to see Facebook marketing off something very similar. Twitter is definitely a go to place for breaking news, because it often breaks the news before you see it on CNN, Google News, or even on the Associated Press feed. However, I suspect that this is more going to be used by people who just happen to be on Facebook and look at it, rather than as a go to place for people looking for breaking news information.
Don't be surprised to see a form of advertising or other kind of monetization added to Facebook's trending feature. There are a few different ways they can implement it, such as specific sites paying to get preference to have their site's links featured prominently either in the trending box or on the landing page the users take to on Facebook.
The new trending topics feature is available now in the U.S., Canada, UK, India, and Australia, with it likely being rolled out to other countries later.