When I first heard about Facebook’s new mobile app Paper, I was hugely skeptical. I didn’t want another app on my phone for reading curated content, I already have loads of those. Flipboard, Feedly, Twitter…. another app just takes up storage space and will eventually be deleted.
Then I installed it.
And I love it.
The clean design is simple and uncluttered, and very easy to navigate using the horizontal scroll. Dragging and dropping the story cards can be done with one hand, and new posts fly in from the side (no more pulling down to refresh your feed). I conducted a scientific survey in the office by showing the app to everyone I could find and the consensus was ‘Like!’ Simple and straightforward, easy to use, with a clean look – Zuck hit the nail on the head. Reading linked articles flips a new page open, and Paper helpfully prompted me with simple instructions when it noticed I was having trouble. Another cool feature is for viewing large photos – tip your phone from side-to-side to pan around the image. Awesome.
In addition to your Facebook Newsfeed, you can add in new sections of interest eg Photography, Tech, Food, Pop Culture etc. This gives you extra news streams containing hand-curated posts from the Facebook editorial team of the most popular articles in each section.
You know how sometimes on Facebook you see posts over and over when people add comments to their posts and they get pushed up the top of your Newsfeed? None of that seems to be happening on Paper. You see posts in the order they are posted. I have not seen any Sponsored Posts on Paper either. And those annoying ads for belly fat? Gone. There are a few features that are absent at the moment, such as checkins, events, lists and Facebook apps but your Messages, Notifications, Friend Requests are all there, and you can follow/unfollow Pages easily.
Facebook has cleverly developed a completely new app and left the old app untouched. No cries of outrage from millions of users after each new release. Instead they just created something beautiful, because they know you’ll be deleting the old Facebook app faster than a Snapchat message.
After 10 years Facebook, you have finally done good. Happy birthday.
Facebook Paper is currently only available in the US App Store. Super simple instructions to install Paper on your iPhone outside the US are here.