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f8: Facebook Zucks in video and music for content king crown

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f8: Facebook wants its social network to become a platform churning out video, music and news feeds – and the company is expected to reveal just how much it wants to be the content king of the interwebs later this week at its f8 developer conference.

A raft of features and partnerships are likely to be announced on Thursday in San Francisco.

The official schedule includes a confab about the "future of digital music", but the new products list is currently left blank.

That hasn't stopped apparent leaks about what to expect from f8, which will include a keynote from Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

According to All Things Digital, the ubiquitous social network has come up with a motto – "Read. Watch. Listen." – for the event.

There has already been plenty of chatter about the company's plans to debut a music "dashboard" to bring together streaming, song purchases, ticketing and merchandise.

If f8 does indeed reveal such a strategy, then Facebook may be about to morph into an online shopping destination with the added attraction - to advertisers at least – of having a social graph containing 750 million people readily sharing data.

The platform has been experimenting with a video streaming rental model, for example.

But now Facebook is apparently ramping up those efforts to pull much more content into its closed network.

ATD, cited sources who said that Yahoo! was among a list of online publishers signed up as "Read" partners with Facebook.

A number of online video sites will provide the "Watch" bit, but presumably that won't involve Google's YouTube.

"Listen" partners will be the aforementioned music services, such as Spotify, it's been suggested.

Facebook will also offer up more details about greater integration with Twitter, allowing users to update their Twitter accounts from within the social network. This comes after it pushed a PDF document to coders and unveiled its new "subscribe" button to users last week.

Indeed, the new subscribe function is a clear imitation of Twitter's micro-blogging service. It works by allowing updates labelled as "public" to be viewed by people who aren't connected as "friends" on the site.

The feature has also given users more granular control of which "friends" can see what on the site. Facebook told its users when rolling out the new subscribe button that they had always been "subscribing" to people online.

That may be true, but the company's terminology just got a lot more business-like. Arguably, it's just a matter of semantics, but suddenly Facebook sounds more like it wants to be a huge player in e-commerce, or - more accurately - Bill Gates' 15-year-old notion of a "marketplace of content" before going public at some point in 2012. ®

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