Facebook is reportedly building a standalone news app as part of its Facebook for Business initiative.
The new product would be downloaded as a mobile application, with users selecting partnering publications that they want to follow and topics about which they want to receive breaking news alerts.
The publications would create mobile notifications to be instantly sent to all followers, according to Business Insider. These alerts would contain a brief summary of the story in up to 100 characters and a link to the article on the publication’s website.
The service would have some characteristics in common with Twitter, such as the character limit and the following mechanism.
According to Ben Wood, Chief of Research at CCS Insight, the service is aimed at boosting Facebook as a go-to web destination.
"Facebook is expanding its reach, making itself as indispensable to users as possible," Wood says.
This reflects "Facebook’s aspiration to be the one-stop shop," he adds. "As its revenues come from advertising, for Facebook it’s all about driving you to their site."
He argues that Facebook is in a privileged position, alongside other companies such as Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo and Google to use customer information to offer a strong service.
"The advantage that Facebook has is it knows your likes, dislikes and interests. They are in a very good position to curate news content. They have a lot of assets they need to create a compelling service and make their portal even more attractive.
"Facebook is saying, they’ve got all this information, how can we use it."