Did Facebook Steal The Name For Its New App, Paper, From Someone Else?

Did Facebook Steal The Name For Its New App, Paper, From Someone Else?

Facebook’s new app, Paper, is very pretty. It’s like if Flipboard mated with Facebook for iOS to create a new, and beautiful way to use everyone’s favourite social network. But Facebook’s Paper has upset a developer by the name of FiftyThree, who had an app called Paper first. Now FiftyThree wants Facebook to back off. Fight!

Paper from FiftyThree is an award-winning drawing app for the iPad, and it’s the one app that makes me wish I could draw better just so I could use it. Here’s what it looks like.

Paper from Facebook is also excellent-looking, but FiftyThree want Zuck to back off the name and “put some thought into it”.

Here’s the meat of the blog post:

…It came as a surprise when we learned on January 30th with everyone else that Facebook was announcing an app with the same name—Paper. Not only were we confused but so were our customers and press. Was this the same Paper? Nope. Had FiftyThree been acquired? Definitely not. Then, what’s going on?

We reached out to Facebook about the confusion their app was creating, and they apologised for not contacting us sooner. But an earnest apology should come with a remedy.

Stories reveal character.

There’s a simple fix here. We think Facebook can apply the same degree of thought they put into the app into building a brand name of their own. An app about stories shouldn’t start with someone else’s story. Facebook should stop using our brand name.

On a personal level we have many ties to Facebook. Many friends, former students and colleagues are doing good work at Facebook. One of Facebook’s board members is an investor in FiftyThree. We’re a Facebook developer, and Paper supports sharing to Facebook where close to 500,000 original pages have been shared. Connections run deep.

What will Facebook’s story be? Will they be the corporate giant who bullies their developers? Or be agile, recognize a mistake, and fix it? Is it “Move fast and break things” or “Move fast and make things”?

We’ll have to wait and see if Facebook changes the name of Paper, or just throws money at the problem to make it go away.