updated 02:41 pm EST, Thu January 16, 2014
Column appears alongside News Feed
Facebook has introduced a new Trending feature that enables users to view topics that are currently surging in popularity. The discovery tool is said to be personalized, combining notable topics from across the social network and conversations that are relevant to each specific user.
Trending content is placed prominently at the top of the right column beside the primary News Feed, atop the "People You May Know" menu and advertising sidebar. Headlines are placed beside each topic, providing a brief explanation behind the rise in popularity. Clicking on a headline presents posts from friends and a list of Pages that are associated with the topic.
The announcement arrives on the heels of a fresh rumor regarding a Flipboard-style news aggregation app, known as "Paper," that is believed to be nearing completion. The mobile news app is expected to be separate from the Facebook News Feed, though sources suggest the project intends to merge content from online publications with Facebook status updates.
Facebook has slowly launched a variety of features that are focused on wider discovery, utilizing users' comments and likes to highlight news articles, brands and other outside content. Many of the tools replicate popular third-party features, such as Twitter's hashtags and Instapaper's save-for-later capabilities.
Trending is initially rolling out on the web interface in select countries. The company suggests it will continue to test the feature on mobile ahead of a wider launch.