What’s trending on Twitter? Popular Articles offers a comment-free look

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Finding the most popular articles just got a bit simpler. Twitter recently confirmed the global rollout of a new feature called Popular Articles, which creates a list of the most talked-about links on the 140-character social media platform.

Popular Articles is a new section inside Twitter’s search menu or explore tab within both the iOS and Android apps. Users need to scroll past a few other popularized categories to find it. Inside the Popular Articles feature, Twitter lists the most discussed articles but doesn’t include any of the commentaries. The feature lists the article’s link preview, without any of the accompanying Tweets or even who shared the article.

The articles included in the section will vary a bit based on the user — the section features articles that are most popular among other users that you follow. These articles can also be influenced by location, according to BuzzFeed News. Links open in a new tab within the app to read the entire article. A “show more” option, however, will remove that personalization and display the most popular related articles, regardless of who you follow on Twitter.

Twitter has only had the Explore section where the new Popular Articles are located since the start of the year, an update to the Moments section that launched in 2015. Along with the new Popular Articles, the Explore tab serves as a home for easily finding live videos and the most popular hashtags. Moments, or articles created directly on Twitter itself, also lives in the Explore section.

Ranking the most popular articles isn’t a new idea — Facebook has a trending news section as well. Designing an appropriate algorithm to determine which stories should go in that section is not easy, however, as Facebook learned when fake news stories were included in the section.

Curating the most popular articles is also popular within third-party apps, like Nuzzel. Unlike Twitter’s new built-in articles feature, Nuzzle leaves the Twitter commentary intact and will display who tweeted the link.

Twitter started out the year with a string of updates designed to curb abuse with expanded algorithms and mute and filter tools, followed by a Twitter Lite, a version of the app designed to use less data. Now, hidden code suggests an automatic tweet series is on the platform’s radar for potential upcoming updates.

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