With hashtags, trending topics, verified profiles, and now the ability for anyone to embed public posts on external websites, Facebook is making a big push to become a primary source of real-time news, both for journalists and readers. It opened post embeds to a few partners last month. Now anyone can grab embed codes from public posts, and Facebook’s added in-line video playback, and better mobile display.
Facebook is chasing Twitter, which has positioned itself a critical host of candid first-person news accounts as well as breaking dispatches from journalists and their outlets. Embeds, which Twitter launched back in 2010, have helped it gain mainstream relevance by spreading its wings across the web. Embeds generate product awareness, referral traffic, and eventually ad views.
Facebook has essentially copied Twitter’s playbook, adding asymmetrical following (to contrast two-way friend) in late 2011, and then hashtags, trending topics, verified profiles, and embeds over the last few months — all which Twitter already offered. Facebook is even toying with a way to show news feed posts about real-time events chronologically like Twitter while keeping the rest of the feed sorted by relevancy. These product choices have all proven successful for Twitter, so while Facebook might take some flack for stealing, they’ll probably help it too.
Though Facebook’s roots are in private sharing, its goal is to connect people, and big real-time news moments bring the world together. Facebook hopes that more publishing tools for newsmakers and discovery tools for readers will make it a bigger part of the public web, rather than just a walled garden.