Facebook reportedly working on a news reader

June 24, 2013

In a social media-driven world, we share and consume news on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

To encourage this behavior, Facebook is reportedly working on a news-delivery service to add to its mobile offering. Sources familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that the company has been working on the product for over a year. So it may not be a reaction to the public outrage over the news that Google would shutter its RSS Reader.

The Wall Street Journal said the new mobile product will resemble Flipboard, a beautifully-designed application that lets readers swipe to flip through news articles.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently said that every team at the social networking giant is “mobile first.” The company is increasingly focused on mobile as a means to boost advertising. People use smartphone devices at home and at work, so Facebook can reach and serve highly-targeted ads to people at any time of day.

The strategy seems to be working. Facebook gets 1 in 7 of the minutes people spend on desktop PCs, and 1 in 5 minutes on mobile devices. So mobile usage is up — and the company is making 30 percent of its revenue from mobile now — up from zero at the time of its public offering.

“Now, we can do it all day, because you’re checking Facebook on your phone all day,” Sandberg said at the D11 conference.

The release of a news reader service, internally dubbed Reader, will likely prove to be more popular with consumers than Facebook Home. Home is a family of mobile ads and an immersive networking skin for select Android phones, which people seem to love or hate. Sandberg summed up the public’s response as “bimodal.”

VentureBeat has reached out to a Facebook spokesperson for comment. The story will be updated as we learn more.

Copyright 2013, VentureBeat

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