Just What You Need: Yet Another Stand-Alone Single-Purpose Facebook App

Because Hello, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Groups, and of course Facebook itself aren’t clogging up your phone enough already, the big blue social juggernaut has an idea for one more app to add to the pantheon. And this time, they’re sort of homing in on a slice of Twitter’s turf.

What Facebook’s got now is a new, stand-alone, Twitter-style app devoted to breaking news, Business Insider reports.

According to BI, the product has not yet been formally announced but is in active alpha testing.

This one is different from the “standard” Facebook approach in that it explicitly exists to let publishers reach people, rather than for people to reach out to each other. The idea is that after users download the app, they get to select which “partnering publications” (partnerships that, of course, Facebook gets to work out on lucrative terms with those outlets) they want to follow.

When those companies push breaking news updates to the app, users will get notifications blasted out to their mobile devices.

The alerts are, by design, short and punchy — 100 characters of text and a URL to the news site’s source article, Business Insider says.

So why would Facebook do it, other than “for money and for data to make more money with, obviously” when every major news platform out there, from ABC and the BBC to BuzzFeed and Yahoo, already has their own stand-alone news apps?

There’s a market for aggregators. Running 5, 10, or 20 different apps annoys users and bogs down phones. Of course, newsreaders and aggregators also abound, but none has quite the product penetration of Facebook, which reaches approximately 1.5 billion users. It’s easy for consumers to reach for a familiar brand.

Facebook is working on a Twitter-like app that lets publishers send mobile breaking news alerts to the masses [Business Insider]

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