Facebook is Still Copying Twitter–This Time With Its ‘Trending’ Feature

Facebook recently added yet another feature to their service that originated on the rival social media service, Twitter. Readwrite posted an article describing the new addition of trending on Facebook. Trending, as most know, started on Twitter, where the top hashtags in the world, country, and region would be viewable to users, along with the top/recent tweets containing that hashtag. Now, Facebook has added this feature, and surprise, it’s very similar to Twitter’s. It follows the same concept, except that in Facebook’s version, the hashtag (that Facebook also recently implemented) is not displayed, but rather is in plain English with a description of the trend. Clicking on the trend will lead to posts and stories about that trend, again, very similar to Twitter.

I envision that many of Facebook’s trends will be the same as Twitter’s trends. Most trends are news stories, and that is what social media users generally post about most. It’s also a pretty safe bet that trends will be able to be purchased for marketing purposes, similar to how Twitter has trends that are sponsored. If Facebook wants to make an original and smart decision with their trends, they shouldn’t allow some of the stupid trends such as #ARealBoyfriend. Facebook should keep their trends solely focused on news. Will that happen? So far it seems like this is the approach that Facebook is taking. In my trends that I have looked at over the past couple days, I have not seen anything that is not news. However, we will see over the next few weeks whether or not that continues.

Before Facebook had implemented a hashtag on their service, Twitter was the king of the it. Sure, other social media services such as Instagram and Vine used them, but if a company uses a hashtag, for example, #Dodge, by itself in an advertisement, you could assume that Dodge wants you to search the hashtag on Twitter and read promotional tweets about Dodge’s new products. Facebook, being a company interested in making money, was losing out on potential business and money to be made by companies only using Twitter as their main promotion. So, in wanting a piece of the hashtag pie, Facebook added it to their service. Now, when a company uses a promotional hashtag, you don’t just assume that the company wants you to go to Twitter. Facebook then wanted to also “borrow” the trending feature, perhaps because some people turn to Twitter’s trending feature to read the top news for that day. Now, with Facebook having this feature, it is possible to stay updated on the news no matter what you like and follow on Facebook.

Publicizing “trends” does this for a social media outlet: it allows for users to view the most popular content on that service and attract users to that service. Thus, that platform can generate more revenue through ads and selling data. Facebook, as mentioned, wants to maximize their service by doing everything they can to attract new users and keep as many current users as possible. As time goes on, we will see what changes Facebook continues to make to attempt to keep its status as a relevant social media platform. Will it keep drawing from other social media services? Most likely, if Facebook’s current history is any indication.

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