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Facebook reportedly plotting July Google Reader replacement

Facebook has already conquered the world of social networking, and it may soon move on to news consumption.

Facebook is reportedly developing its own RSS service, presumably aimed at filling the void Google Reader will leave when it shuts down on 1 July.

Scottish developer Tom Waddington first reported the news, writing in a recent blog post that he'd spotted mentions of RSS feeds in Facebook's code, each showing multiple entries and a list of subscribers. But an attempt to access those feeds through the site's API left him locked out; the feature is restricted to whitelisted apps only.

Facebook declined to comment on the rumours.

Many users already turn to Facebook for their headline fix, scouring their timeline for friends' links to stories about Leonardo DiCaprio's recent breakups, or the latest outrage over animal cruelty. So it makes sense for Facebook, which is constantly gunning for people to spend more time on its site, to add a social news component.

As TechCrunch pointed out, the site has already dabbled in RSS: In 2011, it added a "Subscribe via RSS" option to its Pages, but dropped the button in late 2012 in favour of its Twitter-like "Follow" function.

Several other companies have already confirmed plans to create a Google Reader replacement, including Digg, which is now entering its final hours of building a service it hopes to launch just as Reader shuts downs.

After polling users to find out exactly what features they're looking for in an RSS service, Digg revealed that its RSS reader will inevitably include integration with email, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as support for "read it later" services like Pocket, Instapaper, Evernote, and Readability.

Google announced the demise of Reader in March. Alan Green, a Google software engineer, explained what he called "two simple reasons" for the change: a decline in usage, and the company's shifting energy.