It looks like a trending section is coming to Threads, but not in the way you probably thought about it.
Since Threads launched back in July, people have been hoping that the app would copy a ton of features from X (formerly known as Twitter). One of the biggest feature requests has been that the app add a trending section — similar to what Twitter has on its app. After months of waiting, a leak has given us what appears to be a first look at exactly that feature.
According to a post from Willian Max on Threads, a Meta employee accidentally posted a screenshot of the unreleased feature on their timeline. According to Max, Threads employees have an internal-only feed and it appears that someone accidentally posted the screenshot publicly. While the screenshot has since been taken down, that didn’t happen fast enough to prevent the world from grabbing it and sharing it across the app.
Just to be clear: I’m not a “leaker” or anything like that. I simply follow many engineers and employees working at Meta, and one of them accidentally posted a screenshot that was meant to be private. Fortunately for us, I happened to see it at the right moment. I will not disclose who posted the screenshot for obvious reasons.
A little more context about the leak: Meta employees have this special feed where they can post things only for other employees to see, as disclosed by @chris here. What probably happened is that the Threads engineer was sharing feedback about the trending topics feature and mistakenly posted it on the public timeline.
As you can see below, it appears that, instead of adding a new tab to the app, the feature is currently being added as the first thing you see when navigating to the Search tab. Right now, the default content on the Search tab is a list of accounts Threads thinks you may want to follow, so this will nix that content from the tab. In addition to seeing the list of trending topics, users will also see how many Threads have been posted about the topic.
Interestingly, the screenshot does not show exactly how Threads is calculating the trending topics. While Twitter obviously uses hashtags to track trending topics, Threads doesn’t support hashtags — so, it could mean that the company is simply using keywords to track and and calculate these topics. For those who have been dying for hashtags to come to Threads, this could be another indicator that they aren’t and that the team is thinking of a different way for users to indicate a topic in their posts.
It’s currently unclear exactly when this feature could be released — as noted above, this screenshot was seemingly shared accidentally by a Meta engineer, and it’s unclear if it is actual functionality being tested or simply a mockup of the potential feature. We’ll have to wait for an official announcement from the company which, at least historically for Threads, has come in the form of a post from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg or Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri.
Trending topics is definitely something that makes sense to bring to Threads. It can help people find a topic that is being discussed in real time and engage in conversation. Hopefully, the team can figure out how to support such a feature without it being hijacked by groups of users (or bots) for nefarious purposes or hashtags polluting posts.