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Washington Post Facebook App Nears 4 Million Users

Social Reader app just one example of frictionless sharing

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Washington Post Facebook App Nears 4 Million Users
[ Social Media]

The era of Facebook’s “frictionless sharing” is in full swing, and while some are still expressing privacy concerns and lamenting that Facebook is killing the essence of sharing, it appears that some folks are happy to hop on the wave of change.

The Washington Post, D.C.’s largest and one of the U.S.’s most venerable papers, has announced that their Facebook app, the Washington Post Social Reader, has amassed over 3.5 million subscribers. And the number is growing fast, as the total is currently over 3.8 million.

Their ability to gain this many subscribers in only two months can be traced to the younger audience. A whopping 83% of the users of Washington Post’s reader app are under 35 years old. They can also thank the international audience, as 20% of their subscription base comes from India.

“We knew there would be widespread interest with the app because regardless of who you are or where you live, if you and your friends are on WP Social Reader, you will find something that interests you. As we continue to innovate and add new content, we look forward to growing our user base, our content partners, and seeing where things go with this friend-centric news experience” said Vijay Ravindran, Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of The Washington Post Company.

Of course, not everybody has been quick to embrace these reader apps. If you’re unfamiliar with what they do, they basically allow for Facebook to share everything you are reading (once you allow permission). Articles that you read will show up on Facebook’s new(ish) activity bar for all of your friends to see.

Naturally, you can understand why some people might feel like this is a step in the wrong direction. These apps are one example of the “frictionless sharing” concept that Facebook has been pitching for a few months now. Another example is the Spotify app that many users on Facebook have become enamored with. It shares any song that you listen to using the music service to your activity stream.

Opponents of the frictionless sharing concept have argued that it in a way, ruins the concept of sharing. If an app shares everything that you’re doing, it cheapens the whole idea of sharing, which should be a selective process.

But the Washington Post Social Reader’s success should signal that some people want to share everything that they read and are happy to see what all of their friends are reading as well. The Washington Post is not the only media source with a frictionless sharing app presence. The Guardian on Facebook has 3.4 million active monthly users and if you’ve been alive for the last few months you’ve seen that quite a few users are using the Yahoo! app for news stories.

Sure, there are concerns will all these frictionless apps. But it sure looks like a significant group of Facebook users see the merit.

What do you think about these kinds of app? Are you subscribed? Let us know in the comments.

Washington Post Facebook App Nears 4 Million Users
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  • Rachel

    I am definitely standing with the anti-frictionless sharing crowd these days. (Does that mean I’m pro-friction? Sounds funny.) I feel like the whole point of social networking is to have some element of intention in every interaction — otherwise it ceases to be meaningful and there’s no way to filter all the noise. For example, instead of Spotify I’ve been using the Rounds shared-YouTube feature (http://apps.facebook.com/chatrounds/conv/?publisherid=elena&campaignid=BC&bannerid=0 ) on Facebook to discover new music. My friends and I go on there and wend our way through songs on YouTube — I have that playing all the time in the background — and when the song ends, we each take turns loading up another one. It seems to me that frictionless sharing is almost akin to online advertising — mostly noise, and no way to distinguish the good from the bad.

  • TQ White II

    It does not follow that people are happy to have their friends share everything they read. The uptake of the app is ruining several of my most valued friends’ Facebook presence. As readers, they used to recommend good articles and leave out the crummy ones. Now they are all there. Useless.

    Oh, and you have to let every publication examine your private info, your friends and everything that you want to post to read the articles, too.

    These apps are a travesty.