Facebook Updates Trending & Gives It A Mobile Push
Playing catch-up to Twitter as a real-time public square, Facebook refines its solution with sections that divide the conversation about news events.
Facebook, still playing catch-up to Twitter as an outlet for real-time public conversation, is launching an expansion of its Trending feature that could help close the gap.
Facebook created the Trending module last January to surface “timely and relevant” discussions about news, but limited display to the desktop version of its platform. Today it announced that it is extending the feature to mobile; immediately on Android and iOS in the near future. Access to the new mobile feature is activated by tapping the search icon on the top of the home screen.
The move to mobile is obvious and should help Facebook keep more users in its ecosystem while they browse for news. But those users — and users on the desktop version as well — will be presented with a new wrinkle that could make Facebook’s solution more manageable than Twitter’s more fast moving stream of updates.
Facebook will now break down trending topics into five sections, showing different slices of the conversations. The sections:
- Articles shows you how news organizations are covering the story.
- In the Story shows you posts from people who are part of the story.
- Friends and Groups shows you what people in your network are saying.
- Near the Scene shows you posts from people near where the story is unfolding.
- Live Feed shows you a real-time stream of reactions from people around the world.
News junkies still might prefer Twitter for its wild-and-wooly approach, but many will likely be happy to have the chance to apply these noise filters. Facebook’s chief product officer Chris Cox wrote about the feature’s utility today in a Facebook post:
As I write this, “Downtown LA” is trending. I live in California and my friends are posting about a large fire that has broken out in L.A. Visiting the page, I see the story through many eyes: videos of the fire from people on the scene, posts from my friends in L.A. reflecting on the situation, updates from the local fire department, and news stories from the L.A. Times, Hollywood Reporter, and other local newspapers.