Facebook (FB) is rolling out a new feature that allows users to embed posts on third party sites. The move allows blogs and news outlets, previously limited to posting screenshots of Facebook posts in their stories, to display content directly in all its clickable glory.
While Facebook plans on eventually expanding embedding capabilities to other sites, Bleacher Report, CNN, Huffington Post, Mashable, and People comprise the first round of websites to allow embedding. The change is only applicable to public posts.
Facebook’s decision to allow embedded posts marks the second time this summer that the social media giant appears to be following Twitter’s lead, or, depending on how you look at it, stealing its thunder. Back in June, Facebook activated the hashtags that users were already putting in their posts anyway, allowing users to follow trending topics. In both cases Instragram, which Facebook purchased last year in a $1 billion deal, beat its parent company to the punch.
Matt Honan at Wired suggests that the new feature is latest in a push to make the site’s content more public, and therefore more profitable:
“Everything it’s been doing in recent months–even years–has been aimed at making Facebook content more accessible outside of just your circle of friends. Graph Search, hashtags, the ability to follow users without friending, are all moves at making the stuff posted on Facebook more findable. When things are more findable, more people can see them. When more people can see them, well, you can sell more ads.”
However, other than driving traffic, it’s not immediately clear how successfully Facebook can monetize embedded content. As Honan points out, Facebook can’t reap ad revenue directly from the sites embedding Facebook posts, but in a bizarre twist of fate, Google (GOOG) can.