Not long after rolling out hashtags Facebook confirmed that it was testing trending topics, another Twitter-esque feature. This test was limited to a small percentage of members that use the social network’s mobile website. After only a few weeks of testing, it looks like the initial implementation was a hit as a “trending” topics section is now appearing on the desktop homepage.
As we first reported in August, Facebook confirmed a small test that displays topics trending — including hashtags — on the social network. Just like the Twitter feature, members of the test group were shown a new tile that listed one or more trending keywords. Tapping on a topic displayed posts from other members, not necessarily from direct connections, that mention those words.
The new trending topics section on desktop functions similarly and is being tested for another group of select users. According to a spokesperson for Facebook, it’s still in the early stages of development and the company will disclose more details if it decides to release the feature more broadly.
Facebook hopes that by giving hashtags more exposure through trending topics that it will encourage members to post publicly. This in turn will help the social network become a stronger and more enticing platform for breaking news and popular commentary — something that Twitter has dominated for the past few years.
Trending topics could also help community manager gauge what’s popular on the social network, which could later come in handy for promoting posts and running other advertising campaigns. For now, if you’re looking for trending anything, it’s probably best to keep an eye on Twitter. We’ll be sure to update you as Facebook continues testing this feature.