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Facebook is working on a Twitter-like app that lets publishers send mobile breaking news alerts to the masses

Facebook is working on a standalone mobile news application that seems to be part of its Facebook for Business initiative.

This product, which sounds similar to Twitter, seems to be different than Facebook for Work, an initiative that was announced late last year.

Business Insider has reviewed screenshots of the new product and spoken to a source who has been playing around with the Facebook Business platform. This source says a few companies were chosen by Facebook to pilot the app.

Facebook declined to comment for this story.

Details are still vague, but here’s how Facebook’s new product, which is currently in early (“alpha”) testing, will supposedly 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 will be taken to the publication’s website to read the article.

Here’s a screengrab of what the notification system that’s being tested looks like:

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