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Facebook Outsmarts Competitors By Releasing Own Competitor App

Thea Neal.
By: Thea Neal  |   January 30, 2014  |   View Comments

Social media nerds clutched their pearls and breathed a sigh of beauty when they saw the preview for Paper, a Facebook app that is coming from Facebook itself.

Yep, you read that right. Facebook is releasing an app that is more beautiful, more fun to navigate, and ad-free. And don't fret - your current app isn't going away just yet. So why the heck would anyone use the current Facebook app again? Because users hate change. Who recalls the anti-Facebook groups (ironically on Facebook) urging the platform "CHANGE FACEBOOK BACK TO THE OLD FACEBOOK BECAUSE THE NEW FACEBOOK IS SO MUCH WORSE THAN THE OLD FACEBOOK!"? Of course you do.

"If they radically redesigned the app that about half a billion people use every day, that undoubtedly would generate negative feedback (regardless of how well done it is)," Ignite Social Media President Jim Tobin says. Tobin adds that the new app basically serves as an opt-in program allowing users to use a new design but still lets the stragglers stay where they're most comfortable."If in a year or so it has replaced the app, that’s fine. It’s a great idea to obsolete yourself before someone else does."

Of course, as social media marketers, the term "ad-free" could raise some flags. Ha, remember when Instagram was ad-free? Those were the days.

"Go about your business," Tobin tells advertisers. "It’s without a doubt temporary. It will be easy to put newsfeed ads in this with a flick of a switch.That’s clearly the plan, if Paper gets traction. I think they learned from FB Home that not all of their big ideas are going to stick."

Tobin adds that this app has taken Facebook nine months to develop, coincidentally the same amount of time the brand has been telling advertisers to use more photos and videos in their content.

As a consumer, the UI of Paper is appealing. Photos come up larger, and even links show up as Twitter-like media cards that can be flipped open with the swipe of a finger. This means you're spending more time on Facebook - exactly what Facebook wants. The current Facebook app can come off as messy and boring, so I'm looking forward to a clean app that makes Facebook feel like a whole new platform. Regardless, downloading Paper will create more real estate for Facebook on your iPhone, another win for the platform.

Could Paper be a sexier version of Flipboard (and more social)? We hope so. US iPhone users can look forward to the app on Feb. 3.

Read More: Another FB Algo Change Punishes Brands


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