MySpace launches beta news feature

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NEW YORK -- News Corp.'s MySpace on Thursday launched the beta version of MySpace News, allowing users of the social network to rate the top stories on the page.

"MySpace News is designed to let users decide what's most relevant to them, and we've given them hundreds of subjects to choose from," MySpace co-founder and president Tom Anderson said of the portal's first news initiative. "We're putting it to the community to be the engine driving our news service."

The site, www.news.myspace.com, will organize stories into 25 main categories, including sports, politics, entertainment and technology, and 300 subcategories -- or verticals -- branching out from these. The entertainment category, for example, will have verticals dedicated to reality TV, gossip, Paris Hilton and David Beckham.

Once the stories are on the pages, users will be able to rate them. A high enough rating will jump a story from a subcategory page to a main category page and place it more prominently. Any Internet user will be able to view MySpace News, but only registered MySpace users will be able to rate the stories, akin to how such fast-growing similar sites as Digg and Reddit operate.

The technology on MySpace News will be powered by Newroo, a news aggregation service purchased last year by Fox Interactive Media. This service will search through thousands of Web sites, blogs, newspapers and magazines for stories relevant to the categories.

"We're scouring more Web sites than Google News," Newroo co-founder Brian Norgard said. "I'm sure of that."

The service also will target even more specific interests, including Bollywood, rugby and fishing, with an option to add more categories.
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