With users numbering in the hundreds of millions, Facebook is fast becoming an important online news-content provider: In January 2010, it accounted for 3.5% of upstream visits to sites in the News and Media category, surpassing Google News, which accounted for 1.39% of visits, according to Hitwise Intelligence.

Meanwhile, Google Reader accounted for 0.01% of upstream visits to News and Media websites in January, about the same level as a year ago.

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Facebook was the fourth most popular website in driving traffic to News and Media sites, after Google, Yahoo, and MSN:

Fueling the momentum, a recent Facebook company blog entry encouraged members to create their own personalized news channel on Facebook.

"As news quickly travels, your friends are often the best filters you have for surfacing meaningful news, writes Facebook's Malorie Lucich."The news you read on Facebook can be as diverse as the friends and news media you connect with."

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Facebook Emerges as News-Content Provider

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