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Facebook ‘Paper’ news app could launch this month, set to challenge Flipboard

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Facebook is gearing up to launch a mobile news reader app similar in many ways to Flipboard, a report said Tuesday.

Citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, Re/code said the social networking giant could launch its new app, reportedly called Paper, before the end of this month. The software is apparently the result of years of work, with Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said to have been a key player in its development.

It’s not yet clear if the new offering will be launched as a stand-alone app or incorporated into Facebook’s existing services.

Paper is expected to be similar to the hugely successful Flipboard app, which, since launching in 2010, has been downloaded to more than 90 million mobile devices.

Billed as a social news magazine, cross-platform Flipboard aggregates articles from a range of publications, presenting them in a visually appealing way. The attractive style and elegant user experience has won the app many fans over the last few years, with Facebook under pressure to bring something new to the table if it wants to have any meaningful success with its alternative offering.

News that Facebook was working on such an app first emerged last summer when the Wall Street Journal reported the company was “aiming to become a newspaper for mobile devices.”

Facebook has been steadily pushing into the mobile space in a bid to boost its already massive user base and exploit advertising opportunities, with the expected launch of Paper fitting in with this strategy.

The Journal said at the time that although mobile users are spending an increasing amount of time with their handsets and tablets, Facebook users more often than not drop in for just a few minutes at a time.

“A more immersive experience [with Paper] could open up new ad models for Facebook, which now generates about a third of its revenue from mobile,” a source familiar with Facebook’s mobile plans told the Journal.

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