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Facebook reportedly plotting Twitter-esque trending topics feature

One of the best ways to measure "what's hot" on the Internet is a quick glance at Twitter's trending topics. It can feature heavy subjects as well as host of pop culture references.

Other sites have tried to replicate Trending Topics - from Quora to YouTube to Google+ - but it has largely remained Twitter's domain. That might change, however, with news that Facebook is also considering the addition of trending topics.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook is testing a "Trending" box that sits on the top, right-hand side of your news feed.

A spokeswoman told the Journal that it added Trending topics for a "small percentage of U.S. users" and that it's in its early stages.

Some of Facebook's trending topics will be based on hashtags, another Twitter innovation that Facebook added in June.

Privacy settings have likely hampered Facebook's efforts to be as much of an open book as Twitter.

While many Twitter accounts are open to the public, the large majority of Facebook profiles are locked down in some capacity to non-friends, as they often contain more personal information than the typical 140-character musing.

As a result, Facebook's search efforts have been a mixed bag, because the results only tap into those whose security settings permit it.

Still, Facebook has 1.1 billion monthly active users to Twitter's approximately 115 million, so a little insight into "what's hot" on the world's biggest social network probably has quite a lot of value.