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Friday, December 2, 2016

Facebook reportedly planning curated media feature in the vein of Snapchat Discover

It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: Facebook can’t get enough of Snapchat. Having plagiarized the app’s Stories feature for both its Messenger service and Instagram, the social network is now planning another tool that sounds suspiciously like a function already offered by its favorite rival.

Facebook’s new creation is called “Collections” and it functions in the vein of Snapchat Discover, according to Business Insider — the digital publisher claims to have spoken to two people familiar with the project, and to have seen internal documentation.

More: Facebook’s Flash photo-sharing app eyes emerging markets as a Snapchat clone

For the uninitiated, Snapchat Discover is a curated content tool that provides new stories (episodes) on a regular basis via channels dedicated to the app’s media partners that users can subscribe to. At present, the companies that provide Discover content to Snapchat include CNN, National Geographic, Cosmopolitan, the NBA, and Comedy Central, among others.

Twitter also boasts a similar feature, dubbed Moments, which compiles news from tweets on the platform.

Facebook has reportedly met with media and entertainment companies in recent weeks to create content for Collections, but has not disclosed a timeframe for when the feature will be rolled out.

Facebook has thus far declined to comment on the story. We reached out to the company, but it did not immediately respond.

The social network is currently facing a crisis regarding the spread of fake news on its service. Its detractors in the media claim this type of viral content swayed the outcome of the recent U.S. election result, an accusation Facebook denies. Therefore, Collections could aid it in presenting a counterpoint to disreputable stories on its site — seeing as it seems hesitant to fix its bogus news problem. However, Facebook must tread carefully when it comes to curating content as it’s previously faced accusations of suppressing conservative news on its platform.

The company already has a number of media partners, including the New York Times, CNN, and BuzzFeed, for its Live video feature — meaning it could attempt to extend those partnerships to include Collections content. For publishers, the benefits include a much larger audience (1.75 billion users) than that offered by other social media platforms.

Snapchat recently made a design change to its app that placed its user’s stories above Discover channels in the Stories section. It is unclear if the move has impacted the app’s content providers, although Discover media does boast its own section within Snapchat.

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