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Facebook launches "Paper" news app by creative labs

Facebook has introduced Paper—a hybrid mobile reader that combines updates from family and friends with worldwide news.

The app will roll out to the iPhone on 3 February, offering news junkies a more personal approach than rival newsreaders like Flipboard or Feedly, Facebook said. You can make Paper your own with stories and themed sections based on your interests—not what an algorithm thinks you'll like.

The first section, of course, is the Facebook News Feed. But instead of a timeline you scroll through on the dedicated mobile app, a new design shows off photos, videos, and longer posts.

From there, Paper is yours to build: Customise it with any of the dozen-plus sections—from photography and sports to food, science, and design. Each includes a mix of content from new voices and popular publications.

The upcoming application comes with the familiar Like, Comment, and Share buttons to which Facebook users have grown accustomed. But it also sports new features like high-resolution panoramic photos, viewable by tilting the phone to explore from corner to corner. It also takes video watching to a new height with full-screen, auto-play videos.

"Beautifully detailed covers make it easy to spot articles from trusted publishers and decide what to read or watch," Facebook said in today's announcement. "Articles unfold in the app and appear fullscreen for a focused reading experience."

Paper is more than a new home for other people's content. It also allows users to share their own stories through text, photos, and video—just as you would on Facebook. And, with the live preview feature, you can see what your post will look like before everyone else.

This is the first product from Facebook Creative Labs, where engineers and developers are crafting new apps to support diverse ways of storytelling.