Facebook tests ‘trending articles’ feature to encourage users to try social reader apps

Facebook appears to be testing new feature to highlight social reader articles within users’ News Feeds.

Some users now see a “trending articles” section of their feeds that includes headlines, thumbnail images and the first 130 characters of a story. This aggregation is larger and more disruptive than others Facebook has tested to drive users to Open Graph news applications. A thick grey bar separates the stories from others in users’ feeds, and surprisingly, the unit prominently features article thumbnails rather than photos of a user’s friends. Although links include the name of a friend who read the story, it’s unclear what actually makes an article qualify as “trending.” All in all, it feels out of place in the feed and might work better as part of a separate dashboard, similar to what the social network provides for music.

The version of “trending articles” we saw did not include icons to suggest that clicking on an article might lead that activity to be shared on a user’s own Timeline. Facebook was testing that feature last week to make users aware of their privacy settings before they read an article through a social reader application. It would be useful in this new aggregation so that users don’t accidentally share activity they didn’t mean for their friends to see.

Update 4/18/12 10:36 a.m. - We’ve now seen the trending articles feature in the mobile feed and it seems to be a better visual fit than the desktop version. Users see a single thumbnail and headline, along with a photo of a friend who read an article, and they can swipe forward to view more articles. Here is a screenshot mid-swipe.

Update 4/25/12 1:54 p.m. PT – Facebook appears to be testing a new version of the trending articles feature for the desktop News Feed. This design is similar to the mobile one in that only one article is visible at a time, making it less disruptive than the previous iteration. Users can click an arrow to see more suggested stories. The unit still feels like a departure from the lightweight, friends-focused design of the rest of News Feed.

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15 Responses to “Facebook tests ‘trending articles’ feature to encourage users to try social reader apps”

  1. Facebook testa ferramenta que destaca os artigos mais lidos – Tecnologia no Internet Mercado says:

    [...] O Facebook aparentemente está testando uma nova ferramenta que destaca os artigos mais lidos na rede social. Batizada de "Trending Articles", a nova utilidade dá destaque a determinadas matérias na linha do tempo de cada usuário. Algumas pessoas, que alegam já estar com a nova ferramenta funcionando em seu perfil, enviaram capturas de tela da novidade a sites especializados em tecnologia e mídias sociais, como o "Mashable" e o "Inside Facebook". [...]

  2. Why Facebook Social Reading Apps Don’t Work says:

    [...] has begun showing some users a “Trending Articles” section right inside their news feeds, whether they want it or not. It’s the most aggressive strategy [...]

  3. Filterless Bubble with Frictionless Sharing | Katherine Gonzalez says:

    [...] by The Atlantic–featured in Poynter–Facebook is even testing a new application called Trending Articles, where you will be able to track down what your friends are reading all day, freely. So now you [...]

  4. Facebooks nya annonsformat | | Socialwebb.se says:

    [...] nya annonsformat, och ett sätt att uppmuntra Facebookanvändare att använda Social reader-apps. Inside Facebook har skrivit bra om det, med fler bilder ifall du vill läsa mer. Tydligen verkar formatet fungera ännu bättre i Facebooks [...]

  5. Noah Zimmerman » Why Facebook Social Reading Apps Don’t Work says:

    [...] has begun showing some users a “Trending Articles” section right inside their news feeds, whether they want it or not. It’s the most aggressive strategy [...]

  6. Fivedig – Facebook experiments with ‘trending articles’ in the main News Feed says:

    [...] mentioned by Inside Facebook earlier today, the ‘trending articles’ news feed widget has been added to the mobile version of [...]

  7. Facebook lança ‘Artigos importantes’ para encorajar usuário a usar o Leitor Social | Obvius says:

    [...] Inside Facebook saiba [...]

  8. Facebook experimenta con los Trending | Germán De Bonis says:

    [...] hoy se puede ver debajo de los muros de algunos perfiles, como lo muestra la imagen. Si bien el Inside Facebook solo se hace mención a las primeras modalidades, ya es sabido que en Facebook, somos los [...]

  9. La lettre du 30 avril : la fin du marketing, la fin du web ? | Proxem, le blog says:

    [...] une relative mais certaine uniformisation des médias sociaux : après Google+, c’est au tour de Facebook d’adopter les trending topics popularisés par Twitter. Le buzz, l’influence sont des buzzwords éculés, mais aussi des [...]

  10. ‘WaPo,’ ‘Guardian’ Social Readers Bleeding Users - AllFacebook says:

    [...] due to the social network’s aggregation of social reader stories as part of its test of a new trending articles [...]

  11. Il Declino dei Social Readers | Il Giornalaio says:

    [...] e Ryan Y. Kellet, engagement producer del «Washington Post», che lo motivano con la recente introduzione dei “trending articles” da parte di Facebook. Personalmente propendo per la prima delle [...]

  12. The Pitfalls Of Facebook Dependency - AllFacebook says:

    [...] traffic to social reader apps. But in April, it replaced the recently read articles box with a trending articles box (did it get that idea from Twitter?), which displays a smaller number of articles and is harder [...]

  13. No pongas todos los huevos en Facebook | Mis Apis por tus Cookies says:

    [...] segundo lugar, en la puesta en marcha de los ‘trending articles’, que ha pasado por múltiples metamorfosis desde su puesta en marcha a mediados de [...]

  14. Quora says:

    What percentage of people using Facebook’s ‘frictionless’ apps like Socialcam and Social Reader realize that everything they click on is being broadcast?…

    Not too many realize it. While social readers give access to news and events on the wall itself, they are taking social to a new level by broadcasting everything read. To improve this facebook is supposedly working on trending articles that make the us…

  15. Facebook Adds Trending Videos To News Feed, Redesigns Trending Articles - AllFacebook says:

    [...] of a trending videos component to users’ news feeds and a modification to the design of its trending articles [...]

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