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MySpace challenge news aggregation sites

The social-networking site is venturing into the increasingly crowded news aggregation business.

Social-networking site MySpace is venturing into the increasingly crowded news aggregation business. The swelling ranks already include Digg, Yahoo News and Slashdot.

A test version of MySpace News is expected to launch on Thursday and will debut with some of the same features offered by the top aggregation sites.

The way it works is that users decide which stories are most relevant and determine which ones appear on the front of the homepage. MySpace first organizes the news reports into 25 main categories, including sports, politics and technology.

Users then act as editors by rating the stories. The top rated get the best placement on the site.

Digg became famous for turning over much of the site's editorial control to users. But unlike Digg, MySpace News won't accept user-submitted stories--at least not initially, executives from MySpace said Wednesday.

The new service is being spearheaded by the founders of search engine Newroo, acquired by News Corp. last year. MySpace moving into news is a natural if one considers that the online hangout is owned by News Corp.

The world's third-largest media conglomerate, News Corp. owns newspapers and magazines, as well as cable and satellite companies.

But don't look for the site to be saturated with stories from News Corp. properties, said Dan Strauss, vice president of Fox Interactive Media, which oversees MySpace operations.

"There's no preferential treatment," Strauss said. "We're just looking for the quality content contributors. We're all about providing users with what they are most interested in."