Facebook is testing a new Trending News section in the News Feed featuring five predefined categories: Politics, Business, Science and Technology, Sports, and Entertainment. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the small test with VentureBeat but declined to share further details.
The goal is to let Facebook users discover more trending topics that they may be interested in while naturally increasing competition with Google News and Twitter. Here is how the new section looks, courtesy of AdWeek:
A source close to Facebook says clicking on any of the news categories will show a few trending topics related to that category, as you might expect. This test does not change the way trending topics appear or the way content shows up on trending topic pages.
Furthermore, these categories are in addition to, and not a replacement for, the existing 10 trending topics. They are simply listed below, with the source explained.
Here is the Trending section that most Facebook users currently see:
Facebook first introduced Trending Topics on its desktop website in January 2014. 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.
In December, Facebook launched Trending Topics on mobile and expanded how the feature works across the social network. In some cases, trending topics are placed into new sections that work as filters to categorize the content.
“In the Story” and “Articles” show posts from people who are part of a story and how news organizations are covering the story, respectively. “Friends and Groups” shows what Facebook users in your network are saying, “Near the Scene” shows 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.
That may seem like a lot, but clearly, Facebook isn’t yet satisfied. The company is still exploring how to boost the use of its trending feature, and news categories seems like a great place to start.