Last Monday, Facebook unveiled their new mobile app geared towards delivering more substantive news content to their users. The App, Paper, integrates the traditional news feed with stories from major publications (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic) as well as giving them access to a series of mini-magazines, each thematically distinct and tailored to readers by expert editors on the Facebook payroll. According to the New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg had high hopes for the fledgling app, calling it “the best personalized newspaper in the world.”
The driving force behind Paper was an effort by the company to switch things up with the content that they featured. Facebook has already made substantial changes to what sort of content is featured on the news feeds of their users. Think more news stories and less viral videos. This has some pretty big implications, considering that most news outlets get about 50% of their traffic from social media. Now, Facebook isn’t by any means the only game in town, but it is the social media outlet that generates the most traffic for news organizations. Though Facebook says that they don’t expect anything to change in terms of what content these outlets produce, their shifting standards could have a huge effect on what sort of content is seen by Facebook users, both by news organizations and sites that rely on viral content.
If you are part of the 1/3 of Americans that gets their news from Facebook, then you should probably look into getting Paper for yourself.