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Facebook Paper

Facebook makes Flipboard-style news reader Paper official

In what may be the least surprising piece of tech news today, Facebook has launched Paper, its Flipboard-like news curation app.

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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As is the case with most of this kind, Paper is divided into themed sections based on your interests. Unlike pretty much any of the news curation apps currently out there though, the first section in Paper is your Facebook News Feed. Here, you’ll the same photos, videos, and longer written posts as you do in your usual news feed, just with a different design.

Facebook didn’t clear up how it’ll decide which stories appear in which section although, as we’ve already reported, it seems likely that it’ll be a blend of algorithm and human editors.

It looks like Facebook’s also tried to properly utilise the functions inherent on most smartphones by allowing you to tilt your phone to explore high-resolution panoramic photos from corner to corner, and see faces and other important details up close for instance.

You can also preview your own posts before sharing them which, with a bit of luck, will cut down on the number of typos in people’s streams.

One slightly worrying aspect however is the fact that videos will autoplay in fullscreen mode. It’s something that Facebook’s rolled out on the conventional News Feeds of some users, much to their annoyance. However much the social network is convinced that it’s a compelling offering for advertisers, it’s unlikely to ever go down well with ordinary users.

The division behind Paper, Facebook Creative Labs is apparently set to unleash a whole slew of new apps into the world. How advisable is remains to be seen, given that its pretty much the same path Yahoo! meandered down before being rescued by Marissa Mayer.

On the other hand, anything to keep Facebook relevant on mobile (which now accounts for the majority of its ad revenue) has to be worth trying.

Paper will begin rolling out to US iPhone users on February 3.