Facebook is already dominating peoples’ phone time, and now it wants a crack at your lock screen, too.
Facebook has rolled out a new app for iPhone owners called Notify that gathers news and entertainment stories into one regularly updated feed. CNN, Fox News and the Washington Post are among the 70 organisations providing stories to the app. Details about Notify have been leaking to the press for months, and as with other news apps (or Twitter!), users are asked to follow publishers or “stations” which will then push content throughout the day to their phone’s lock screens.
The feed of stories could be customised by choosing from several different categories, including movies, music, sport, news and celebrities, Facebook said in a blogpost.
There are also categories for daily meditation exercises and another from the Getty picture library showing iconic images from the same day in history.
The push notifications only include a snippet of information, like a headline, but a link within the notification will send you to the publisher’s mobile webpage, which surfaces inside the app. If you don’t have time to read something right away, you can save content to read later or share it with others through platforms like — you guessed it — Facebook.
Mark Mulligan, managing director of analyst company Midia Research, said the move made sense because Facebook had become the “jumping off point into our digital lives”.
“The better a job it can do of this, the better it locks users in,” he said. “It has seen standout success with spinning out Messenger and recognises that the more touchpoints it can develop with its users, the more it can create greater loyalty.”
Notify comes soon after Facebook unveiled its Instant Articles service In May. This sought to speed up the delivery of off-site content by hosting it in its own data centres. Articles from BuzzFeed, National Geographic, the New York Times and six other media organisations are featured on the service.