Twitter can’t seem to catch a break. According to a new report from Business Insider, Facebook is currently testing a mobile app that will offer some breaking news functionality.
The site spoke to a few companies who are helping Facebook to pilot the initiative. Here’s a rundown of how the app might work:
- Users will download a new mobile app by Facebook.
- Users will then choose partnering publications they want to follow on the app and topics (or “stations” and “substations”) they want to receive breaking news alerts about. Facebook has apparently selected only a few companies to launch with.
- When there is breaking news, partnering publications can create mobile notifications that will blast out to all of the followers instantly, as fast as a tweet would.
- The mobile alerts allow for up to 100 characters of text and a url to the news article on that publication’s website. One publication can’t create a notification for another, for example.
- The blast will go out, and when people click on the link, they’ll be taken to the publication’s website to read the article.
While some of the app’s features sound more closely related to Apple’s new News app in iOS 9, the mobile alert functionality seems very Twitter-like.
And even if a small percentage of Facebook’s 1.5 billion users download the reported app, it could definitely spell more doom and gloom for Twitter.
As my colleague Bryan M. Wolfe recently noted, Twitter has seemingly lost focus with CEO Dick Costolo resigning in July and its official mobile app now featuring a hodgepodge of confusing new features designed to improve user engagement.
While the majority of Facebook’s other app experiments, like Slingshot and Paper, have mostly been a bust, this rumored new app definitely sounds interesting. We’ll keep you up to date if we hear any more information.