Facebook is reportedly working on a standalone breaking news app that has been compared to Twitter. The app will ask users to choose publications and topics that they want to follow and send push alerts of up to 100 characters when news in these preselected areas breaks.
Facebook will partner with a select number of publications for the app, according to Business Insider, and publishers will only be able to link to their own content, not content provided by others.
The as yet unnamed app is alleged to currently be in an early, alpha stage of development. Business Insider’s source claims that a few companies have already been chosen by Facebook to pilot the app.
The reported project wouldn’t be the first instance of the social network looking at ways to present breaking and developing news; Facebook already launched the standalone news reader Facebook Paper last year, and its Instant Articles feature allows select web publishers to create versions of their stories optimized for display inside the Facebook app.
The news of Facebook’s standalone application comes after Twitter launched an experimental news tab in its mobile app in the hope it will broaden the site’s appeal. The microblogging platform also revealed its Project Lightning feature earlier this year, which is said to aggregate tweets and photos from live events and breaking-news situations in real time.
There’s no word on when Facebook’s app will be released. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the rumors.