Internet and Social Media

Facebook Trending adds headlines for context but drops personalization

Facebook’s controversial Trending topics feature is sacrificing support for niche interests in favor of an internationally scalable approach that could create nationwide digital water cooler moments you can read at a glance. Facebook is making three significant updates to Trending that will start rolling out in the US today on desktop in the right sidebar.

  1. Facebook is adding an immediately visible headline from a top publisher about each Trend so you know what it’s about, even though Facebook removed its own staff-written descriptions of Trends last year
  2. Facebook is dropping personalization so everyone in a country sees the same top Trends instead of your list adapting to what topics like sports or video games you typically click on or are interested in
  3. Facebook is changing how it’s measuring what’s Trending to prioritize topics that lots of news publishers are writing about instead of topics getting lots of engagement because a celebrity’s mention of it or other single post went viral
It helps you know what’s going on across Facebook whether or not it matches up with what your friends are talking about

— Will Cathcart, Facebook VP of Product Management

Together, these updates will make it much easier for Facebook to bring Trending to more countries and languages, as it’s only available in a few places that speak English plus India right now. The unified set of Trends with headlines attached could also help surface news publishers to new audiences, simultaneously helping Facebook’s news partners grow while decreasing the filter bubble phenomenon…

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