Facebook today launched Trending Topics on mobile. The feature is rolling out now in the U.S. on Android, with the promise that support for iOS and other countries is “coming soon.”
Facebook first introduced Trending Topics on its desktop website back in January. The company revealed at the time that it was using natural language processing (NLP) to parse strings on its social network to figure out which posts are related and which ones are taking off.
When you tap on a trending topic (on mobile and on the Web), Facebook now shows you an expanded look. You’ll see conversations organized in up to five different sections.
The first two sections, “In the Story” and “Articles” will show you posts from people who are part of a story and how news organizations are covering the story, respectively. These are the primary sources, if you will.
The next three sections add even more context. “Friends and Groups” shows you what Facebook users in your network are saying, “Near the Scene” shows you posts from Facebook users near where the story is unfolding, and “Live Feed” shows you a real-time stream of reactions from Facebook users around the world.
Yet not all the content will be put in these new sections. Facebook will still show the main Trending feed for relevant posts that its algorithm finds based on engagement, timeliness, and “other factors.”
In other words, the new sections are essentially just predefined filters. Trending Topics are still found the same way as before (using NLP), and they only show you public posts as well as posts that you can access elsewhere on the social network (like updates from friends or Groups that you belong to).
Facebook says the new additions will make it easier for people on the go to explore stories from different sources. So far, Trending has been doing the company well, and given that most of its users are on mobile, it has the potential to do even better there.