Friday July 19, 2024

Meta is testing a trending topics feature on Threads
  Posted by: Engadget on Feb 12th, 2024 8:18 PM

Meta is testing a new feature that will allow Threads users to see what kinds of conversations are trending on the platform. The app has begun testing “today’s top topics” in the United States, Mark Zuckerberg shared in a post on Threads.

The feature will surface “timely topics that others are discussing” and will appear in search and interspersed between posts in the app’s For You feed, according to Meta. Specific trends will be “determined by our AI systems based on what people are engaging with right now on Threads,” Instagram head Adam Mosseri said.

Interestingly, Threads will surface trends related to politics and elections. The company said last week that it would no longer suggest political content in its recommendations unless users choose to opt-in. But Meta has confirmed that restriction won’t apply to its trending feature. “Political content can be a topic,” a Meta spokesperson told Engadget. “We will only remove political topics if they violate our Community Guidelines or other applicable integrity policies.”

The addition of trends has been a long-requested update for many Threads users hoping to make the service more usable as a source for real-time information and updates. The feature was previously spotted in an employee version of the app, but it was unclear if Meta would roll it out more broadly considering Mosseri’s desire to avoid “encouraging” conversations about “politics and hard news."

Though AI will determine much of what is surfaced, it sounds like the Meta does plan to do some curation of what appears as a “top topic.” A team of “content specialists” will “ensure that topics do not violate our Community Guidelines or other applicable integrity guidelines, and that topics are not duplicative, nonsensical, or misleading” a Meta spokesperson said.

For now, “today’s top topics” is only a “small test” but Zuckerberg said the feature would arrive in more countries and languages “once we get it tuned up.”

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