Facebook wants you to influence the news your friends read

Facebook is focusing on integrating news discovery based on your friends’ activity in the news feed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today at f8, the company’s annual developers conference.

Zuckerberg’s keynote presentation focused on the influence you have over your friends, and your ability to find various types of content through them, including news.

“We think that Open Graph creates a great opportunity to rethink the way we discover and read news,” said Zuckerberg in his speech.

With the Open Graph you are able to see trends in your news feed. Zuckerberg showed how his own news feed aggregated content and showed him what was most popular among his friends. It will also show you all of the articles under a specific topic, should there be one trending.

News that is not trending doesn’t fall by the wayside. Instead, it will appear in the ticker section, or the scrolling bar on the left hand side of the news feed. When an article of interest shows up, you can hover over the ticker, see the full activity and click on the article. Many publications are developing apps for Facebook as well, allowing readers to view an article from within Facebook.

Zuckerberg showcased a few of these apps at f8. Many are canvas apps, or apps that appear within Facebook on a blank page like a fan page, though Facebook is excited about any app focusing on the serendipitous discovery of news through preexisting social relationships.

Washington Post: Social Reader

The Washington Post released its Social Reader, an app that allows users to read any content published by the Washington Post, as well as content from its properties. In keeping with finding content through friends, the app will publish stories that you are reading directly to your news feed. It does this with permission, which you grant upon installing the app.

Your reading behavior also dictates a specially aggregated section of content for you to discover. In order to create this list, Social Reader will look at posts both you and your friends have read, interests and preferences showcased on your Facebook profile and news trending that day.

Yahoo: Into Now

Yahoo’s Into Now is a mobile app that focuses on sharing TV preferences. But now, Into Now will show you not only what your friends are reading, but sync your Yahoo news activity with your own Facebook updates. Into Now does this through an opt-in process, giving it access to your profile.

You can delete updates made your behalf and see a full stream of your activity in the “You on Yahoo! News” section. There is also a tab dedicated only to what your friends are reading on Yahoo news. The purpose is, again, to give you opportunity of discovery through friend’s preferences.

NewsCorp: The Daily

The Daily originally existed as a news subscription for the iPad, released in February of this year. NewsCorp has now turned this into a separate canvas app for Facebook users.

“Newscorp is publishing the web version of this app only inside Facebook because they believe that eventually everyone is going to discover news that they’re going to read through their friends,” said Zuckerberg.

The app’s editors post news about news, sports, gossip, opinion, arts and life, and apps and games.

More apps to come

This is just the beginning for Facebook news. Zuckerberg thanked more than a dozen different news publications for building social news apps on Facebook. NewsMix, a Flipboard-like magazine for Facebook, launched this week using data from fan pages liked by both you and your friends.

Zuckerberg was candid, “Knowing that you helped a friend discover something new…is awesome.”


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