Twitter knows its trending section is a confusing mess

In an effort to rectify that, the company that brought us trending gems like “demon sperm” plans to revamp the section in an attempt to answer the seemingly unanswerable question of “Why the hell is this thing trending?”

To accomplish this, Twitter is taking a two-pronged approach. Starting today, for some trends, the company will include what it deems to be a representative tweet at the top of a trending page. In the near future, Twitter will also add “brief descriptions” to some trending pages. 

“[Some] trends will have a representative Tweet pinned to them to give you more insight about a trend right away,” wrote Twitter product manager Frank Oppong and Twitter product trust partner Liz Lee in a press release announcing the change. “A combination of algorithms and our curation team determine if a Tweet represents a trend by evaluating if the Tweet is very reflective of the trend and popular.”

A representative tweet
A representative tweet
Some context
Some context

When it comes to the descriptions the company will add to some trends in the future, the press release notes that these “will provide straightforward, clearly sourced context around why something is trending.” 

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Interestingly, a strikingly similar idea was proposed over a year ago by Chrissy Teigen.

“it takes me too long to find out why something is trending,” she wrote in August of last year. “twitter should first tell you why something is trending, at the top, rather than 8 million people continuing to make it trend by asking why it’s trending I dunno”

In its press release, Twitter says that “why is this trending” was tweeted over a half-million times last year, so it appears Teigen was on to something. 

The changes start rolling out today on iOS and Android in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, France, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.


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