Facebook As Mobile Newspaper?


Facebook-News-FeedFunny what happens to an industry segment when Google decides to vacate even one area of it.

With the looming demise of Google’s RSS Reader (July 1) there is a news aggregation / collection / management / presentation race that is underway and the competition is getting tougher. Early on it appeared as if Feedly would have the advantage in the RSS race but now Aol has thrown their hat into the ring and, if the Wall Street Journal is right here, Facebook is is now entering the fray with a product that looks like Flipboard. Once that happens then you know there is something at stake because there isn’t a single potential advertising rock that Facebook won’t turn over in order to make investors happy again with the company.

The Journal is reporting on Facebook’s internal project called Reader

Facebook Inc. is aiming to become a newspaper for mobile devices.

The social network has been quietly working on a service, internally called Reader, that displays content from Facebook users and publishers in a new visual format tailored for mobile devices, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The project, which the company has been developing for more than a year, is designed to showcase news content in particular. Recent versions of Reader resemble Flipboard Inc., a smartphone and tablet app that aggregates stories from multiple sources and lets users swipe to flip through articles, said the people with knowledge of the project.

As with most things in the Internet space though this is not going to be something that is easily accomplished. Personally, I am already thinking that if what I am seeing in my news feed is any indication of what is ‘news’ in the Facebook environment (lots of politics and stupid human tricks) it’s the last thing I need aggregated and packaged up for me. The old saying goes that you can put a turd in box, wrap it up with pretty paper, put a bow on it but when you open it it’s still a turd. That’s what I can imagine happening here for many. Others feel the same way but minus the colorful comparisons.

But owning news consumption will be a challenge for Facebook, analysts say. Both Twitter and LinkedIn have been pushing their own services aggressively, while Flipboard has more than 50 million users.

“There are a lot of things people didn’t do on Facebook several years ago that they now do,” said Nate Elliot, a Forrester analyst. “But I imagine it’s going to be very hard” to retrain consumers to see Facebook as a go-to hub for news.

So since we are speculating about something we have not even seen how do you feel about the general concept of Facebook as newspaper in your mobile world?

  • cynthialil

    This reminds me of Facebook’s last attempt to become a news portal when they asked people to subscribe to their favorite magazines and journalists – those posts were supposed to show up in your feed. I remember being excited about it but I don’t know what’s become of it. It’s not happening on my page, that’s for sure.

  • kingsbea

    This is a good idea but this thing is not happening on my page. A liitle bit disappointed :(

    bridges puzzles

    • FrankReed

      No one has it yet. It is rumored / in production.

  • Traffic Motion

    Yea, I don’t see people going to Facebook for world news. At the most, they go to Facebook for local and family news. And I can only imagine what kind of ads-disguised-as-news Facebook will allow advertisers to push to their users through mobile devices.