Until well into 2015, I would have taken the news that Facebook is shutting off Paper, its alternative iOS app for using Facebook, personally. When I was on my iPhone, it was the version of Facebook I chose to use, for reasons ranging from its clever, mobile-optimized interface to the fact that it didn’t shunt you off into the stand-alone Messenger app.
I eventually bowed to reality and joined the vast, vast, vast majority of Facebook members who used the standard app. But I admired what the company tried to do with Paper—see my original 2014 review for proof—and I’m glad that it existed and influenced Facebook in its primary form in multiple ways.
Paper’s death follows Facebook’s decision last year to shut down Creative Labs, the skunk-works group that created the app. Bottom line: If something doesn’t have the potential to reach hundreds of millions of users, it isn’t of much interest to Facebook. That fact probably doomed Paper, which was never going to be a blockbuster, from the beginning.