Alongside the 10th anniversary of Facebook and recently surpassing the 1.25 billion user mark, the social media giant has invited the world to join in the celebration with their latest mobile app, Paper. Although at first glance Paper might seem like nothing more than a different iteration of the standard Facebook page, a deeper look will show you that it’s actually a far more novel idea.

What Does the Paper Mobile App Do?

Paper is a new way of delivering the content from your Facebook feed. Redesigned to read like a personal newspaper, the core features of Paper are simply a way for you to post articles of stories and topics that interest you, and read the articles posted by your friends. Think of it as a 21st century book club, where the books are content on the Internet, and the members are your Facebook following.

Why Paper?

The general idea behind paper is providing users a means of accessing a , cutting through the hundreds of baby photos and Internet memes that tend to accumulate on your normal Facebook dash. People come to Facebook for new content, and when user updates are slow, the Facebook experience as a whole suffers for it.
Paper is more than just a way to create a hard split between actual news, like an important stock market development or the passing of a new bill, and social news, like your cousin’s upcoming wedding. It’s a content gateway that’s clearly designed to keep Facebook users engaged and coming back. Of course this isn’t to say you can’t use the app for silly things. The setup process encourages you to join various categories of types of news for your feed. If you’re into sports, you’ll be

A Tool for Storytellers

Paper isn’t exactly a news app in the traditional sense, but more of a social article sharing network. Content is delivered in a very readable and highly adjustable template, it’s easy to navigate from page to page with simple horizontal swipes, and sharing your next favorite think piece can be done in one tap.

More importantly for content developers, there’s a lot less crud for you to compete with. One of the major barriers to successfully sharing ideas on Facebook, whether you’re an editorialist or a marketer, is the sheer quantity of friend updates, photos, and other posts that keep your own content buried at the bottom of a reader’s news feed. If you produce content for Facebook, Paper may drastically increase the possibility of getting your content read on Facebook because it helps deliver content to a content hungry audience, and enables you to create a more captive audience that’s actively encourage to promote your content through the app.

The Future of Paper

In some ways the Paper app could replace the standard Facebook app. You can do essentially everything that you can on the Facebook app, including making posts, read notifications, and toggle your account settings. Paper even has the added benefit of being completely free of advertisements (but that may change in the near future).

During the last quarter of 2013, nearly a quarter of Facebook’s revenue came from advertisements on mobile devices, so the delay to deploy ads on Paper is more than likely a preliminary step while the app continues to grow in popularity. Were Paper to overcome the standard Facebook app, ads would almost certainly follow.