Facebook rolled out one of its most ambitious and content-heavy projects on Thursday: Facebook Stories, a new section of the social media site designed, as one spokesperson phrased it to Mashable, "to celebrate the different stories that are coming out of Facebook."
Content on the site will be loosely structured around broad themes, the first month being "remembering." A video introducing the new page tells the story of Mayank Sharma, a man who was diagnosed with meningitis at age 27 and quickly began to lose his memory, using Facebook's "People You May Know" tool to reconstruct his life history through his social network. The story is equal parts moving human interest and clever branding for a site.
In addition to video content, the Facebook Stories introduces several other features such as archival stories from the New Yorker magazine (content normally only accessible through a paywall), a Goodreads curated book list known as "The Bookshelf" and a Spotify-fueled and artist-curated tracklist known as "The Playlist." The company will also produce a podcast and infographic corresponding to the theme.
"The project started as a result of our seeing a number of stories coming into the company from different channels, including stories we would read about in the media," a Facebook spokesperson said to ABC News. "We wanted to create a place where we could celebrate great stories."
Facebook Stories is similar to a smaller project the website launched under the same name in 2010. This earlier version invited users to submit stories that would be shared with other people who subscribed to the specific app. That application disappeared from the site in 2011, and a company representative assured Mashable that the new Facebook Stories is "a separate effort from a different team."
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The new Facebook Stories is also nearly identical to editorial-based projects run on two other prominent social media networks: Twitter Stories and Tumblr's Storyboard. Both offer stories about users with text, image and video promoted and shared through the social network itself, though Tumblr's is a much more established part of the site compared to Twitter's, which has only published two short stories since it launched in mid-April. In the way popular editorial site BuzzFeed often advocates crafting journalism in a way that is "authentically in the language of the social Web," as the site's editor-in-chief Ben Smith said in a recent interview, these new ventures all make bold moves toward integrating editorial, artistic and journalistic work more seamlessly with social media platforms than the two have been traditionally structured in the Internet's relatively short history.
The individual stories, Mashable writes, are meant to be focused on "people, not brands," but the company admits that "this is just the first iteration, we could see different evolutions."
You can watch the first Facebook Stories video below.