Facebook buys social sharing startup to create new "Conversations" unit

Facebook (FB -0.9%) has acquired Branch Media, a startup that provides an app (Potluck) that pushes news snippets to users with the goal of enabling conversations with friends, as well as a link-sharing site (Branch) meant to host private discussions on news topics. Sources tell The Verge the price tag is around $15M.

Though Branch's products will (for now) remain in place, its team will now focus on developing products for Facebook (via a new Conversations group) that "[help] people connect with others around their interests." CEO Josh Miller says Facebook wants his company to "build Branch at Facebook scale."

Facebook has its eyes set on becoming a primary source for sharing and discussing news stories; the company recently tweaked its news feed algorithm to show more "high-quality" stories, and Mark Zuckerberg has said he wants Facebook to be "the best personalized newspaper in the world."

But (as noted in a December AllThingsD report) a disconnect currently exists between Facebook's goal and actual user activity. "Low-quality" viral content posted on Facebook often receives far more clicks and comments than "high-quality" news content.

Twitter (TWTR) has arguably seen more success (albeit with a much smaller base) at developing into a news sharing/discussion hub.

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Comments (1)
  • vpg999
    , contributor
    Comments (142) | Send Message
    looks like FB is taking aim at TWTR using Instagram and Branch, TWTR will get smoked when the Street figures this out. Goldman Sachs out pushing desperately to support the stock, but fair value with this competitive environment is 10x sales = $15 today well below current range.
    13 Jan 2014, 11:49 AM Reply Like
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