Facebook to Unveil 'New Product' Thursday

2012-21 REP Mark Zuckerberg H

Facebook's chairman loses $5.6 billion between the company's May 18 IPO at a $38 stock price and its June 4 close at $26.90. Some analysts predict an even further slide.

“A small team has been working on a big idea,” says an invite from the social network, with a tech blog suggesting it may launch a news aggregation service.

Facebook has invited journalists to a Thursday event, promising the launch of a "new product" without providing specifics.

The invitation, sent out at the end of last week, said the event would take place at the social-networking giant’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. “A small team has been working on a big idea. Join us for coffee and learn about a new product.”

Tech blog TechCrunch reported that Facebook, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, may unveil a service that aggregates news stories and posts from various online sources. It could highlight articles that are trending on Facebook or possibly even offer more of a full-blown RSS reader-like product, TechCrunch said.

With around 1 billion users, Facebook has been looking to launch new services to attract new users, increase the time they spend on its site and target them with advertising to generate more revenue.

Most Facebook users share news links and other things semiprivately, but the social network’s algorithms could surface what articles are being shared most without violating users' privacy, TechCrunch said.

Such a service could also take advantage of hashtags that Facebook users can now add to posts.

A Facebook blog post last week that announced the addition of hashtags said: ”Hashtags are just the first step to help people more easily discover what others are saying about a specific topic."

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai