By Michael Gold
The Baltimore Sun
11:40 AM EST, February 4, 2014
The LGBT community got a pretty big nod from Facebook this week.
To supplement its mammoth social network (which turned 10 years old Tuesday), Facebook launched a new iPhone app Monday called "Paper," which gives users a simpler, cleaner way to browse their news feeds. To read posts or share articles, users swipe from left to right, only expanding links or discussions that interest them.
But Facebook Paper also contains 19 topic-focused sections that resemble Flipboard's digital magazine layout. The sections contain a curated stream of news stories from various media outlets, allowing readers to browse through at their own pace. App users can choose which sections interest them and add them for later.
One of those sections, labeled "Pride" appears to focus on LGBT rights and pop culture.
Facebook is actually a little coy about the topic, which appears at the end of its long list of story themes. "Gay" or "LGBT" aren't used in the section's description, although the title is located against a rainbow flag, and a tagline reads "There's strength in community." Plus the curated feed includes articles from BuzzFeed's LGBT section, Queerty, Huffington Post's Gay Voices vertical and The Advocate.
Granted, the "Pride" stream also includes content seemingly unrelated to the LGBT community on the surface, like a New York Times article on Broadway actress Elaine Stritch that doesn't mention the gay community. Sure, Stritch is a favorite among some theater-going gays, but the story's inclusion here feels a little stereotypical. (That said, I read it anyway.)
Still, Facebook spotlighting LGBT media outlets in its new venture feels like an important step, especially as people increasingly get their news from social networks.
Other topic sections in the app include the news-focused "Headlines," "Equalize," which looks at gender equality, and business news hub "Enterprise."
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