Did you ever use Facebook’s Paper app? If so, then you might be saddened by the news that Facebook is officially pulling the plug on said app in a month. And if you hadn’t, or haven’t even heard of the Paper app, then you’re probably the reason why it’s going away.
The appa lovely looking standalone news readerwas an ambitious move by the company to get people more hooked into published content. And by content, we mean that the app allowed users to prioritize news articles and feature stories, not just status updates from friends. Though the app had some novel UI elements, it failed to generate enough traction for Facebook to really put much of an investment into it beyond its initial release on the iPhone.
Facebook never developed an iPad version of Paper, which you would think would be at top of its list for an app designed to display feature content in a unique way. The app also never made it to Androida missed opportunity, given the size of Android’s user base. Paper is officially gone from the App Store as of today, and Facebook notes that the app itself will no longer support it after July 29.
That’s not to say that Paper doesn’t live on in some capacity within Facebook, however.
“We know that Paper really resonated with youthe people who used itso we’ve tried to take the best aspects of it and incorporate them into the main Facebook app. For example, the same team that built Paper also built Instant Articlesa fast and interactive experience for reading articles in News Feedusing many of the same tools, design elements, and fundamental ideas as Paper. Our goal with Paper was to explore new immersive, interactive design elements for reading and interacting with content on Facebook, and we learned how important these elements are in giving people an engaging experience,” reads a message from Facebook to Paper’s users.
As TechCrunch reports, Paper never really appeared to have a very wide install base. The app dropped out of the list of the top 300 U.S. apps after a month, and couldn’t even be found on a list of the 1,500 most popular apps after its first year.
Facebook’s move comes shortly after the company decided to modify Facebook’s timeline algorithm and preference updates from one’s friends and family over content from businesses, brands, and publishers. It’s a bit of a one-two punch for the latter camp, as Paperthough not used by manywas at least a way to preference raw content over friend updates.
“When we launched News Feed in 2006, it was hard to imagine the challenge we now face: far too much information for any one person to consume. In the decade since, more than a billion people have joined Facebook, and today they share a flood of stories every day. That’s why stories in News Feed are ranked so that people can see what they care about first, and don’t miss important stuff from their friends. If the ranking is off, people don’t engage, and leave dissatisfied. So one of our most important jobs is getting this ranking right,” Facebook’s Adam Mosseri, vice president of product management, wrote in a recent blog post.