Facebook is rivaling Google News and Google Reader as a distributor of news content on the internet, according to recent data from Hitwise.
Hitwise online analyst Heather Hopkins reports that Google Reader accounted for .01% of visits to news and information websites in late January - roughly the same figure as a year ago. Meanwhile, Google News accounted for 1.39% of upstream visits and Facebook for 3.52%.
Facebook was ranked as the fourth most popular source of visits to news and media websites in the last week of January after Google, Yahoo, and MSN, respectively.
In late January, Facebook posted a quick tutorial on the company's blog to show users how to set up a news feed on their profile page. The Wall Street Journal among other newspapers already publishes content through a news feed on its Facebook page.
Google still has a commanding hold over the online ad market, posting ad revenues of $22 billion in 2009 while Facebook only made $400 million from advertising last year. However, that gap may start to shrink if Facebook continues to drive stories on the web at a higher rate than its competitors.