Facebook’s Trending news section, which appears on the righthand side of each user’s news feed, is getting a refresh that will make it easier to find information and see different perspectives of the day’s most popular stories, including a Twitter-like live feed with user mentions.
The section is also coming to mobile devices for the first time, starting on Wednesday.
The social network first introduced Trending in January 2014 to give its users a look at the top stories of the day.
Now the handy feature, which calls out about the top 10 most-shared news headlines at a given time, is making its way to mobile devices.
By visiting the search bar on Android devices, users will be able to see a drop-down menu of the hot topics and stories circulating the site. (Facebook said it is working on an iOS update, too).
Adding the Trending section to mobile is a pretty big (and logical) move, but the company is also rolling out more ways to stay on top of news.
After clicking on a link — let’s say it’s about the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series — a topic page dedicated to the news appears and highlights related articles.
Facebook will now divide each topic page into five different sections, which will display pictures and messages from the people you know (and the people you don’t) all in one hub.
In addition to articles — which show how various media outlets are covering the story — the topics pages will include the following sections: In the story, Friends and Groups, Near the Scene, and Live Feed.
In the Story highlights posts from people who are part of the story — for example, if the Giants or a player posts about the series — Facebook might pull the mention and feature it here.
Meanwhile, Friends and Groups show what the people you know are saying and Live Feed displays reactions from beyond your network (anyone with a public profile; not just celebrities and well-known figures).
Near the Scene shows posts from people near where the story is happening; in this case, perhaps, from the Giants’ victory parade route in San Francisco.
A small Facebook team will handpick the status updates for the In the Story section, it will continue to rely on algorithms and share activity to draw attention to what’s trending on the site.
The tools may sound simple, but building these topic pages could add a great deal of depth to how news stories are digested — consider how a Trending topics page may look when hard news stories like the recent protests in Ferguson, Mo. and other cities surface.
Trending stories will continue to be a blend of what’s popular in each user’s region and a snapshot of major conversations happening across the country, the company told Mashable.