Facebook on Thursday announced the launch of a new feature called Trending that highlights
hot topics bubbling up across the social network. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s very similar to Twitter’s trending topics feature that serves the same purpose.
In the top right corner of the News Feed, Facebook will show what’s trending, based on subjects spiking in popularity on the site. The list of topics shown to each user, however, is tailored to some extent to their own interests. Each topic is accompanied by a headline that users can click to see related posts by friends as well as brands, public figures or other entities with a presence on Facebook.
Chris Struhar, engineering manager at Facebook, wrote in a blog post today that Trending is designed to "help you discover the best content from all across Facebook,”
Trending is rolling out initially on the Web in the U.S., U.K., Canada, India and Australia. Facebook will continue to test the feature on mobile before expanding it beyond the desktop. Unlike Twitter, trends on Facebook can’t be sponsored at launch, but it’s not hard to imagine the company following the microblogging service in this respect as well.
It isn’t the first time Facebook has played catch-up with Twitter, previously adding things like a Follow button and hashtags, first popularized on the rival social platform. But Twitter has borrowed from Facebook, too -- this week allowing marketers to retarget users by email address, similar to Facebook’s Custom Audiences tools.