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Facebook might jump into news with rumored Reader

Ian Paul | June 25, 2013
Reports of a Facebook newsreader continue to swirl, but it's unclear how the social network would present content.

Playing nice with publishers
There's also the question of whether news sources would be willing to play along with Facebook's rumored Reader effort. Facebook would no doubt want to insert ads into Reader as the company searches for new ways to make money and satisfy investors. News sources, meanwhile, would be reluctant to let Facebook and its massive audience make money off their content without some kind of agreement. That could be solved if Facebook simply drives traffic to those news sites as it does now with links inside of a user's news feed. But news organizations tend to be fickle about how their content is presented inside third-party apps. The New York Times, for example, only allowed Flipboard to start carrying its content last June.

Regardless, there's little doubt that Facebook is an ideal platform for newsreading.

"It does make sense that Facebook try new products because so much information is shared on the social network," Blau says.

Anyone can follow their favorite news sources on Facebook to get links to the day's popular and important stories. Facebook also offers interest lists for people who want to follow a large number of news sources at once.

The only question is whether users will use Reader if (or when) it debuts. If Reader is built into the primary Facebook app, that seems more likely; however, adding yet another feature into an already bloated app would not be ideal. Then again, a secondary app that users need to download separately may not see that much traction. Facebook certainly has the audience and links to news content already inside its social network. We'll have to wait and see if Facebook can execute and turn that potential into a feature that draws readers in every day.


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