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Threads Tests Trending Topic Highlights to Focus on Live Events

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Could this be a positive sign for the future of Threads engagement?

Today, during the solar eclipse, Threads added this notifier to its new “Trending Topics” page:

Threads trends

Which is a good way to encourage real-time engagement, and get more people sharing their thoughts on a topical event. But it is interesting that Threads has only chosen to highlight this event thus far, as opposed to many other breaking news stories over recent weeks.

Though, it does make sense. Threads chief Adam Mosseri has repeatedly stated that he doesn’t want to focus on news content, as such, in the app, while Threads has also taken measures to demote divisive political content, in the hopes of making the platform a more positive user experience.

But that really misses the point of a real-time social network.

The real value of X (formerly Twitter) is most present during breaking news events, and the fact that Threads is looking to shun this element seems like a major misstep in its planning.

Though that, of course, comes from the perspective of viewing Threads as a Twitter replacement, a vision that Meta itself doesn’t share. But if it’s not an alternative to Twitter, what is it, and why will people keep coming back to the app?

I mean, Meta has absolutely said that the chaos at Twitter led to the launch of Threads, so it is actually a Twitter alternative. So why not embrace that, and highlight trending news discussions of all kinds, within whatever editorial standards you choose?

Essentially, knowing that Threads can highlight topics like this is a positive, and could present new opportunities. But if Threads only uses it for selected “positive” news stories, I think that will be a missed opportunity, along with the resistance to political content (under whatever parameters) and the refusal to enable chronological search sorting.

And if Threads can’t get more of the embedded Twitter communities to shift across from X, I don’t see it becoming the next billion user app, as per Meta’s vision.

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