Threads rolls out Trending Topics for users in the US

Meta’s newest social media platform Threads has finally introduced its “Trending Now” feature. This long-awaited addition brings Threads closer to several of its closest competitor, most notably X (formerly Twitter), by allowing users to discover the most talked-about topics on the platform. For now, the feature is limited to users in the US.

Prior to the launch of “Trending Now,” Threads users lacked a way to discover trending conversations beyond their own feeds. This created a somewhat isolated experience, making it difficult for users to stay abreast of broader discussions or emerging trends on the platform. The introduction of “Trending Now” addresses this gap by providing a curated glimpse into the topics capturing the most attention on Threads. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, announced the official rollout of the “Trending Now” feature to all users in the US. This rollout follows a testing phase initiated in February. “Trending now is rolling out to the US today so you can see what people are talking about on Threads. Enjoy!” Zuckerberg wrote in a post on Threads.

What does this mean for Threads? For one, the addition of trending topics provides users with an avenue to explore popular conversations and engage with a broader range of content within the app. This increased visibility into trending discussions is likely to drive higher levels of user engagement as users discover and participate in relevant conversations. They can also easily discover what others are talking about and join in on ongoing discussions, while exploring topics beyond their immediate network and interests in real-time.

For another, the introduction of “Trending Now” positions Threads more competitively against X (formerly Twitter). Users who previously relied on X to discover trending topics might now find Threads a more viable option, especially if they value a focus on safety and a less cluttered interface. This may prove to be a boon for Threads as well – interest in the platform and user engagement fizzled out following an initial surge in popularity with millions signing up within days of its launch in July 2023, wherein it smashed all records and went on to have over 100 million users within a few days. Since then, Meta has been steadily adding features like a web browser version, a repost function, and an edit button to revitalize the platform.

Unlike X, which can display dozens of trending topics at a time, Threads opts for a more cautious approach. “Trending Now” surfaces a limited set of just five topics, and these issues can range from the spread of misinformation to the dominance of politically charged content, both of which can create a toxic or misleading online environment. From the looks of it, the feature utilizes AI algorithms to identify and surface trending topics based on user engagement and activity, and after analyzing user engagement metrics on the platform. These metrics include the number of posts mentioning a particular topic and the level of interaction (likes, comments, shares) that those posts generate. By analyzing this data, the AI system can identify topics that are organically gaining traction among users.

And if this is not enough, the social media company company also employs human content specialists to review trending topics and ensure that they are in compliance with its safety guidelines. It also ensures that the topics mitigate the spread of harmful content and ensures that trending topics are relevant and appropriate for the Threads community.

“Trending Now” is strategically placed within the Threads app to maximize discoverability by its users. Users can find it on the main search page, displayed as a ranked list below the search bar. This prominent placement makes it easy for users to find trending topics while searching for specific content. Additionally, a dedicated “Trending Now” module is integrated directly into the “For You” feed. This ensures that trending topics are showcased alongside suggested Threads content, further increasing their visibility and encouraging user engagement.

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