Facebook says it's making three changes to its much-discussed, often-criticized Trending sidebar, and from the sound of it, the revamped version could dramatically change the types of news stories people consume there. Here are the bullet points from a Facebook blog post today:
• Trending topics will now feature a publisher headline below each topic name.
• An improved system to determine what is trending.
• Everyone in the same region will see the same topics.
That last point is especially critical. Facebook is bringing a uniformity to the sidebar, as opposed to using the current model of basing topics on individual interests. That means the Trending feature will grow in influence, because more people will be seeing the same things. Left unsaid is how Facebook will determine which publishers to highlight. We're reaching out for more information and will report back soon.