A few months ago it was reported that Facebook was rumored to be working on a standalone breaking news app that worked in a similar way to Twitter. Now screenshots of the app, apparently called Notify, have been revealed by The Awl.
The app appears to be more like an RSS feed reader than Twitter; users are presented with a list of publications they can follow, and the app sends a notification whenever the chosen websites publish something new. One similarity to Twitter is the way that each notification is presented as a short summary of the story - Notify reportedly has a 100 chacter maximum for each alert, whereas Twitter famously uses a 140 charcters limit (for now, anyway).
Facebook is still working out the details on what will be the best method for pushing out said notifications and whether users of the app should be notified about every single story or only selected items. It could turn out that the app only notifies users of the stories which publishers deem the most important.
Twitter launched its curated news service, Moments, last week. With the company recently laying off 8 percent of its workforce, Twitter will be hoping the new feature helps revive its ever decreasing popularity. Facebook, on the other hand, will be hoping that Notify can draw away those Twitter users who use the microblogging site solely to keep up with breaking news stories.
It’s unlikely that Notify will be the “final nail in Twitter’s coffin,” as some commentators have put it. While Facebook’s upcoming app only notifies users of breaking news stories from web publications, Twitter’s on the scene live-tweets and commentary from members of the public will always remain a unique and popular feature of the site.