If you've ever wondered what people who aren't your Facebook friends (or even friends of friends) are talking about on the social network, you're about to get clarity. Facebook is rolling out a new section called "Latest Conversations" that will appear in some search results.
TechCrunch first noticed "Latest Conversations" late last week, and Facebook has confirmed the new feature, saying, “We're rolling out a new section in search results that will show the most recent public posts about timely topics that a lot of people are discussing on Facebook."
When you search for a trending topic or person, such as "French Election" or "Barack Obama," you'll see the new section, "Latest Conversations," along with a constantly updating statistic that shows how many people are talking about the issue at that moment. You can press on any of the public posts shown to see the full status or shared article.
Although public posts showed up in searches before "Latest Conversations" existed, the update is intended to make it easier to get a sense not only of what the timely issues are, but also how popular they are and what people are saying about them.
However, searching for a trending topic doesn't always bring up the most relevant, newsy take. For example, when I typed in "Facebook" I expected to see posts from people talking about the network's fight against fake news in the U.K. Instead, my "Latest Conversations" were packed with posts from people who were listing their "three best photos on Facebook" and taking a quiz about their most used Facebook words. After scrolling past some of these posts, I came across a few that mentioned the more newsworthy issues.
If used well, "Latest Conversations" has the potential to burst the bubble and help you see viewpoints that aren't otherwise represented among your own friends. However, whether people will take the time to search for trending topics and read through the posts is another issue altogether.