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Photo © 2013 AP via AAP/Jeff Chiu
Think the Internet's killing newspapers? Facebook says it's turning into one.
The leading social network has started transforming the stream of updates from friends at home pages into a "personalised newspaper" with news ranging from the personal to the global.
The News Feed on Facebook home pages has been revamped to get rid of clutter and present "bright, beautiful" stories whether they are insights from friends or trending news of the day.
"I think there is a special place in the world for this sort of personalised newspaper," Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said in introducing the overhauled News Feed.
"It should have a front page and top news section or let you drill down into any topic you want."
Facebook began rolling out the new News Feed "very slowly" at its website reached by desktop or laptop and planned to begin adding it to its smartphone and tablet applications in the coming weeks.
Each News Feed will automatically be tuned to the interests of individual Facebook users, according to technical lead Chris Struhar.
Pictures in the feed will be gleaned from posts by friends or online pages people have indicated they "like".
If a Facebook user follows pages from CNN or other professional media organisations, top shared or trending stories are displayed.
Music or film lovers should see News Feeds touting fresh developments regarding bands, stars, movies, songs or other related subjects.
Content will be separated out into different feeds, including music, photos, games, friends, close friends, as well as feeds that your friends follow.
The feeds will return to being listed in chronological order, rather than using the mysterious “Edge Rank” to decide for you what content is relevant to you.
Struhar told AFP "we hope you get all you need" without having to leave Facebook.
While the amount of content shared at Facebook has soared, the amount of time people have to spend at the social network remains limited, inspiring the drive to more efficiently connect people with news they most care about.
"Of course we all want to share with our friends, but we want updates from our favourite publications, artist, world leaders and more," Zuckerberg said. "This is the evolving face of News Feed."
News Feed will give more prominence to major stories being shared by friends in the social network; trends at third-party applications such as Pinterest or Instagram, and weave in important personal bits such as a cousin with a new job.
"When I wake up in the morning and see all my friends are sharing the exact same news story or video, I know it must be something big," said Facebook director of design Julie Zhuo.
"You get a richer, simpler, more beautiful News Feed focused on the things you care about, what your friends are saying, and what is trending."
© 2013 AFP