‘WSJ Social’ Lets Users Surf the News Without Leaving Facebook

You can even compete with fellow news geeks

This Thursday, The Wall Street Journal is launching WSJ Social, a new app that filters content from the newspaper through the “social graph”—and exists entirely within Facebook.

Why, you ask? According to Forbes’ Jeff Bercovici, it’s because news outlets like the WSJ, while attempting to piggyback off of the traffic created by social networks like Facebook, also have to face the fact that the more time consumers spend on those networks, the less time they have left over for other sites—like the news outlets themselves.

“The fundamental idea of it is super simple,” Alisa Bowen, general manager of the WSJ Digital Network, told Bercovici. “It’s about making [WSJ content] available where people are.” Which, of course, is on Facebook.

WSJ Social lets users choose which streams they want to follow—either the paper’s official streams or other user-created ones—which determines which stories they’ll see. “It’s really about the users being elevated to editors,” Maya Baratz, the WSJ’s head of new products, said.

The app also offers a chance for competition, allowing the most-followed users to compare their rankings and even offering them prizes like their very own WSJ-style stipple portrait, says Bercovici.

The WSJ is planning to keep all revenue from ads that appear within boundaries of the app, while Facebook will sell the all ads outside of it. Content that’s behind a paywall on WSJ.com is still only available to subscribers within the app, but thanks to a one-month sponsorship from Dell, the entire site will (temporarily, at least) be free for all.