Speculation is circulating that Facebook's Reader project might turn the network into more of a news content provider than online yearbook.

There’s no denying Facebook’s impressive reach. The social network reports having 1.11 billion monthly active users and it continues to onboard individuals in the United States and overseas. Now, there is speculation the social media giant wants to expand its digital footprint further by growing out of its role as an online yearbook and into the world’s go-to news content aggregator.

If Facebook’s goal comes to fruition, brands that actively share news updates on the site might find their social media marketing practices exceed expectations for traffic and conversions.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported these rumors have surfaced due to the development of Reader, a platform that aggregates news and social content from multiple sources – including users and brands – and displays them in the same magazine-like style as Flipboard. This viewing method is expected to translate well onto mobile devices for on-the-go readers.

Facebook developing news aggregation capabilities.

Facebook is attempting to become a platform where users can go to pursue their individual interests, engaging with brands’ digital content, reading real-time updates and perusing online stores. This can keep participants from bouncing off the site when they are finished interacting with people in their social networks or looking through posted photos and videos. Keeping people on the site longer also gives brands’ social media advertising strategies greater visibility and drives Facebook’s own profit margins higher.

It’s a strategic time for Facebook to move into news delivery, as Brafton previously reported Americans’ confidence in offline media outlets are declining. Just one-fourth of people surveyed in a Gallup poll said they have a great deal of confidence in newspaper content.

Marketers can also capitalize on this trend by delivering their target audiences with exclusive real-time news updates on channels that offer viewing personalized experiences.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.