When the app debuted in early 2014, Paper was heralded as Facebook’s most ambitious content service ever. Spearheaded by Chris Cox, Facebook’s highly regarded product VP, Paper totally re-imagined how users discover and create content.
But users didn’t bite. Its popular reception was so poor, Facebook never got around to releasing an Android version of Paper.
Facebook is positioning the failure as a lesson learned.
“Our goal with Paper was to explore new immersive, interactive design elements for reading and interacting with content on Facebook,” the social giant said in a statement. “We learned how important these elements are in giving people an engaging experience.”
Instructive or not, Paper’s demise marks Facebook’s second admission of failure in the last month. At the beginning of the month, it shuttered Notify less than a year after its launch.
Seemingly trying to out-Twitter Twitter, Notify encouraged users to subscribe to push notifications from various content providers. No small side project, it launched with more than 70 big-name publishers, including Bloomberg, Comedy Central, CNN and The Weather Channel.
Among other stations, Fox Sports used Notify to serve up end-of-game wrap-ups; The Weather Channel sent out daily weather forecasts; and Fandango debuted new movie trailers as they become available.
As with Twitter, Notify users were expected to select the stations that appealed to them to create their own content mix.
Where did Facebook go wrong with Notify? It’s not saying, but there wasn’t likely a huge demand for more push notifications.
Despite its seemingly limitless options, Facebook seems to have decided that there is such a thing as too many apps. As such, it said it planned to “transition” Notify’s assets and publisher partners to Messenger and other existing properties.