It showed up in a drop-down menu inside the new Facebook Timeline feature, then like a phantom, disappeared from view, but not before reporters spotted it, armed with a screen shot on Burberry's new Timeline page. Now Facebook has come clean with the official introduction of Interest Lists.

The social-watch speculation of late has been on the direction of Facebook development, and just how the recent set of new features (like "Subscribe" and the rest) are getting more Twitter-like, and how the 8-times-larger Facebook entity (Facebook has 800 million subscribers, to Twitter's 100 million) will affect the growth of Tweets going forward.

Think Personalized Newspaper

But the company is putting a "personalized newspaper" spin  on its new service, stating: "Interest lists can help you turn Facebook into your own personalized newspaper, with special sections -- or feeds -- for topics that matter to you. You can find traditional news sections like Business, Sports and Style or get much more personalized -- like Tech News, NBA Players, and Art Critics."

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There is even a Facebook blog post today on how to "curate feeds" around a particular field you may be tracking, centered on the people, and public pages, with updates added to your Interest List, that can also be shared.

Pinterest-Like Service

Some are commenting that the new Interest Lists from Facebook is similar to the Cold Brew Labs Pinterest (pinboard-like) social photo sharing service, for which you still need an invitation to join. Its theme-based image collections have a lot in common with Interest Lists and has the stated mission: " connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting."

A Facebook and Pinterest user, Rebecca J. Rose, commented:

When I saw it for the first time, I thought I was on Pinterest! I like it a lot though... way cool! I used to make my own lists manually with my pages I liked such as news, children, etc.. but it got too time-consuming to add a page to my list every time... this is so much better, I love it! :)"

The point here is, Pinterest may have identified a great niche with its pinboard-like approach to sharing social images, but once on the radar, watch out -- the gorilla in the room may just like the color and size of banana you're eating.