Facebook Paper, or simply “Paper”, has now launched in the US and can be downloaded on iTunes or the Apple App Store for free (bad luck Android peeps, no news yet when it’ll arrive there).
Early reviews of the app have been extremely positive, with many saying that it’s even better than the official Facebook app itself, as everything you need on Facebook is right there on ‘Paper’. If you’re not based in the US then you probably don’t know what all the fuss is about, and for good reason – Paper hasn’t been launched anywhere else. But…
Here’s how to download if you’re not in the US
The simplest way is to create a US-based iTunes account to download the app. What this means is setting up a new iTunes account and using a US address. If you don’t want to create a new iTunes account, you can just edit your account settings and change your address to make iTunes think you’re based in the US.
First, you need to grab your iPhone or iPod then open up the App Store. Scroll down to the bottom of the page until you see your Apple ID. Tap that and it will open a pop up asking what you want to do with it. Tap on “View Apple ID.” You will then be asked for your password.
After entering your password, tap on the “Country/Region” part to see the countries listed, browse to the top of the page and select “United States”, then agree to the new terms and conditions. iTunes will then ask for your payment method. If you want to download paid apps, you will be required to select a method, but since Paper is a free app, you can just choose “None” and move on.
Once that’s done, scroll down to change your billing address, just type in any state in the US, its zip code (Google is your friend here), plus a phone number with the corresponding area code of the state you chose. And you’re done. You’ll get an email regarding the changes.
You can now go back to the App Store and search for Paper so you can download it.
How to navigate “Paper”
Once Paper finishes downloading, tap on the app to open it. At first you’ll be presented with all gray blocks, but just be patient, a tutorial will start shortly. It shows you how to navigate the app. You first need to login to Facebook, though if you already have the Facebook app running on your iPhone, Paper automatically logs you in. This part was kind of concerning since when I did so, it automatically logged me in and presented posts created by my Facebook friends. Yes, posts from your friends will be the first ones you’ll see on Paper.
In the top right corner, you will see three icons; these are for friend requests, messages, and notifications. To add more content, swipe on the top part of the app to reveal more options. Tap on “Edit Sections”, and you’ll be presented with cards representing various topics such as “Headlines” for the regular news, “Enterprise” for news and insights about companies, “Scores” for game news and many others. If you found a card that interests you, just slide it up to save it in one of your ‘sections’.
You can save a many sections as you want. When you’re finished, just hit done at the top right corner. The top part of the app now represents the different sections you selected. Browse through the sections by swiping from left to right to reveal posts on the bottom. To browse posts, swipe from left to right on the bottom part of the screen. If you find something interesting, just slide that post up and when you’re done reading, looking at photos or watching videos, just slide down to close it.
When you open a photo, not every part of the image can be seen on the screen. To view the rest of the photo, you need to tilt your device to reveal the hidden parts. Posts on Paper are like posts on Facebook, you can hit Like, Share and even comment on them.
The conversation bubbles are also present on Paper, so it’s really just like the Facebook app you became familiar with – only better.
To create a post, swipe down on the top part of the screen to reveal the options, tap on “Create Post” and you can start writing whatever you want and adding photos as you please. Also present in the menu are the search bar on the top left corner, groups on the top right corner, your profile, and the Settings so you can customize your preferences for your own unique Paper experience such as if you want to get notifications on Paper instead of the old Facebook app, autoplay videos, your account settings, and even logging out.
If you find yourself a little confused, don’t worry, there’s a voice tutorial to tell you what to do or how to navigate stuff.
The end of the Facebook app?
It’s quite amusing to use Paper and some say it’s even better than the Facebook app. So what would Facebook do if users suddenly abandon its Facebook app for Paper en masse?
In an interview, Paper product manager Michael Reckhow, revealed that CEO Mark Zuckerberg loves the app, “He uses it, and he’s just excited to launch like we are. We’ve met regularly with him…And he gives feedback along the way. I think one area where he definitely challenged us was to think of the content as really broad and to think past the typical areas that you’d think of browsing content.”
And when asked what would happen if Paper gets more popular than the default Facebook app, Reckhow stated, “It’s a good problem to have.”
If you’re not satisfied with Paper, check out Facebook Paper launches today : Takes on 3 rivals, for other social/news content aggregators.
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