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Rather than trust your friends and favorite Pages to post interesting stuff, Facebook is taking news discovery into its own hands with “Articles Related To…”. This special feed story shows you popular links that lead to content mentioning Pages you Like. It could be the next step in Facebook’s master plan to take on apps like Flipboard, Pulse, and Zite, keep you on site and make publishers pay.
Say you Like rapper Lil Wayne. You might see a feed story titled “Articles Related To Lil Wayne” followed by a preview blurb and link to an post about him on music site that’s getting shared a lot on Facebook but that none of your friends posted.
At the very least, the story type could become Facebook’s personalized version of Twitter’s Trending Topics. About a year ago Facebook was frequently showing a “Trending Articles” block in the news feed. However, those links could be about anything and were mostly sensational stories auto-shared by your friends via Open Graph news reader apps. Articles Related To instead relies on the wisdom of the Facebook crowd, and notes the total number of times the article’s been posted.
It could also lay the groundwork for a “Sponsored Articles Related To” ad unit.