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Talk of 'major' redesign of Facebook profiles as F8 nears

As social network's F8 confab edges nearer, more snippets emerge about what might go down at event, including talk of the unveiling of a "major" redesign of site's iconic profile pages.

As Facebook's F8 developers conference edges nearer, more snippets are emerging about what might go down at the event, including talk of the unveiling of a "major" redesign of the social network's iconic profile pages.

This weekend The New York Times' Ben Sisario said the paper had confirmed with unnamed sources that Facebook is partnering with music services and others to create a media platform that will let its users "easily share their favorite music, television shows, and movies, effectively making the basic profile page a primary entertainment hub."

Sisario mentions music services Spotify, Rhapsody, and others, but doesn't name any movie- or TV-streaming companies. However, Claire Atkinson, at cross-town rival the New York Post, published her own report about some sort of tightening of integration between Facebook and Hulu. She also mentions Netflix.

Now Mashable's Ben Parr and his own anonymous sources have backed up the Times report and added a couple of other tidbits. A "major" profile redesign is in the offing, Parr reports, which will be part of a stronger move toward social e-commerce--a move that may include making Facebook Credits more conspicuous, as well as the launch of a Facebook app store. It may also have to do with a rumored HTML5-based mobile platform called Project Spartan, Parr adds.

Meanwhile, both Liz Gannes at All Things D and Sylvie Barak at TG Daily are reporting that "read, watch, and listen" will be the F8 theme, and that the social network will debut a live ticker on the site that will show what content your Facebook friends are currently gobbling up.

This ties in with murmurings CNET has heard about Facebook's desire to help its users find others who like what they like and then discover additional songs and other content based on that. Gannes also mentions that "big online publishers such as Yahoo" will be part of the party, and that the new content-sharing tools will be taking their cue from the gaming tools Facebook has already created.

TechCrunch's Leena Rao seemingly provides another piece to the puzzle by reporting that the well-known "Like" button will be joined by buttons reading "Listened," "Watched," and "Read." Rao also says Facebook will introduce a button friendly to social e-commerce--it'll be labeled "Want," and will debut sometime after the other buttons appear.

And finally (for now), it looks like Facebook has quietly removed its beloved Poke button and shuffled that option into the Message dropdown menu on profile pages. It's unclear whether that has anything to do with this supposed wash of new buttons.

Facebook itself is keeping mum. But all will be revealed Thursday in San Francisco, when F8 opens its doors.