Given the continuous rise of news consumption on Facebook, the social networking is reportedly prepping a standalone news app that allows publishers to write a 100-character synopsis related to the news. The text is then linked to a URL that can be shared with fans and followers. The new app, which seems to be a part of Facebook for Business initiative, sounds deceptively similar to Twitter, as updates can be shared with followers in an instant.
The company has tied up with a select publishers which will allow them to create notifications, while users can download the app and subscribe to these partnering publications they’d want to receive alerts from or the kind of topics they wish to subscribe. Users will then receive a link in an alert, which would redirect them to the publishers’ websites.
Specific details are still vague as the app is still in its Alpha testing phase, but it could pave the way for the social network to go head on against Twitter and Flipboard as the favorite place for users to find breaking news.
The move sounds like a good ploy for Facebook to further bolster news consumption on its network given the continuous rise of media consumption on the web. The company off-late has been ramping up news consumption on its social network. Back in May it introduced ‘Instant Articles’, a feature that offers a refreshing and engaging way to consume news on its website. Available only on the iPhone, it allows top publishers to put articles with faster loading times, something similar to what Flipboard offers as it speeds up the whole news reading process.
The new app still in development, which also apparently takes subtle cues from Twitter and Flipboard, would certainly allow Facebook to capitalize on the growing popularity of the platform, which is now beyond just simple social networking. Gone are the days when Facebook was just a means to share photos and updates with friends and family, it has now evolved into something wider and is now the target for advertisers, publications, NGOs and more.
Meanwhile, just last week Twitter also started testing a breaking news tab feature for both iOS and Android called Project Lightning. Twitter’s Kevin Weil says the new initiative is ‘a brand new way to look at Tweets’, updating users constantly about current events and breaking news curated from the best news sources.