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Facebook Launches Paper, a News-Reading App

It might be time to slide over that Facebook app on the homescreen of your smartphone — to make room for another Facebook app.Paper, a news-consumption app akin to existing options like Flipboard, Feedly and Zite, will be released for the iPhone in the United States on February 3, with other versions presumably to follow.Facebook-paper-story-top

The idea is to present longer-form Facebook content in a more attractive, magazine-style way that will encourage users to linger over posts, stories and images.

“Paper makes storytelling more beautiful with an immersive design and fullscreen, distraction-free layouts,” the company said in a post on the site. “We’ve also made it easier to craft and share beautiful stories of your own.”

The first section of the new app will be your Facebook News Feed. It won’t have all the functions of the native Facebook app, but it will present your friends’ posts, along with stories from other news categories, in a slicker, prettier package.

According to Facebook, the News Feed section will feature a new design for photos and video and the ability to read longer written posts.

Users can then customize the app by adding more than a dozen other topics, “from photography and sports to food, science and design.” Facebook promises “a rich mix of content from emerging voices and well-known publications.”

There will be no buttons to push. Instead, users will be able to flip through stories and other posts by tilting the phone in various ways and swiping with their fingers.

When posting your own stories, Paper will let you look at a preview before sharing.

Paper will be the first release from Facebook Creative Labs, which is devoted exclusively to developing new mobile apps for the site.

In the early days of its 2012 public stock offering, Facebook was knocked by some for not having fully realized how to make money off of the rapidly growing mobile market. But that appears to have turned around in a big way, and Paper could give the company another mobile platform on which to advertise.

On Wednesday, Facebook reported that 945 million of its 1.2 billion users visited the site via a smartphone or tablet in the last few months and that mobile represented 53% of the site’s advertising revenue — up from 23% last year and zero in 2011.

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