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Facebook working on mobile news reader

Flipboard competitor in the works.

Image: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

FACEBOOK HAS BEEN working on a mobile news product for over a year, The Wall Street Journal’s Evelyn Rusli reports.

The product, which Facebook employees refer to as “Reader,” sounds like a Flipboard competitor. Flipboard is a social news reader for tablets that has more than 50 million users. Facebook’s Reader will “displays content from Facebook users and publishers in a new visual format tailored for mobile devices,” Rusli’s sources say. She’s not sure when or if Reader will actually launch though.

Reader’s team is being led by Facebook designer Michael Matas, formerly of smart hardware startup Nest and Apple.

Zuckerberg hinted at a social news product in March when News Feed was redesigned and Graph Search was announced. “We want to give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper in the world,” Facebook’s CEO said then.

Facebook will have its work cut out for it. There is no shortage of mobile news readers. Circa is a venture-backed app that summarizes news stories so they can be easily scanned on the go. Twitter has also started to develop a news team to highlight trending topics and social content.

- Alyson Shontell

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