The idea behind the news app is simple and runs in accordance with the Facebook mantra of share, share, and share some more. The app displays the articles that you’ve read through Facebook with the most popular articles appearing on a user’s homepage inside a featured box, with their friends’ profile pictures appearing next to the titles.
When you click on the link, you are prompted to install the app before you can read the article (if you don’t install the app you can’t read the article unless you bypass the whole thing and just go to Google). Reports about the app claim that it makes it easier for users to share content across their social networks with the added bonus of increasing traffic to the original newspaper’s website. The app comes as a potential solution to the decline in sales during the digital age.
The Guardian, the Independent and Yahoo! are just some of the news publications that have integrated social networking into their websites with the help of this app. It has proven popular for some users with the guardian version of the app reaching over 1 million users in its first month!
As ever, this type of integration isn’t all smooth sailing, with many of the articles that are bought to attention are not always current and this has caused some Facebook users (and news article commenters) to grumble about the app.
Rather expectedly, an app geared towards making sharing easier, simultaneously makes it more difficult not to share. It runs the risk of over-sharing and causing potential readers to switch off from the app because they find the articles outdated and irrelevant. Interestingly, the Independent has been especially victim to this, as its ‘most read’ box on the website is populated by outdated news pieces.
The strength of social networking is that users can choose which materials to share with their network. Removing the element of choice, the app runs the risk undermining some of the articles which are genuinely posted with the intention to share on social networking sites. With its continued to mission to push users into sharing materials, Facebook themselves run the risk of forcing users away from meaningful sharing and into broadcast territory.
There is no doubt this type of interactive news reading will increase in popularity, once other news outlets (inevitably) jump on to the bandwagon. Let’s just hope that they remember the importance behind meaningful sharing.Tags:Facebook, Guardian, Independent, News Application, Sharing, Yahoo