Two Major Facebook Social Reader Apps Shutting Down (Update)

By Cameron Scott 

social readers, social networks, social networking, social mediaThe Washington Post and The Guardian, a reputable U.K. paper, said this week they will pull their social reader apps from Facebook.

The Washington Post is in the process of replacing its reader in Facebook with an independent website that supports social sharing through a Facebook login.

A Washington Post spokesperson said the publication is “migrating from a Facebook canvas application to a Facebook Connect enhanced website [which] preserves the important features we built for Facebook but also opens up the experience to others.”

The Post’s off-Facebook social reader offers the same sharing and personalization features as the Facebook app along with increased privacy protections. Users can turn instant sharing features on or off. They can also can visit the site without logging in, but the experience will be limited to reading content, the Post told SocialTimes.

Beginning next week, links to Guardian articles shared on Facebook will begin directing directly to the Guardian’s own website, the company said. Eventually, there will be no more content in the Facebook app.

“We have decided to switch our focus to creating more social participation for our users on our own core properties, beginning with,” the Guardian said.

Once seen as a lifeline for struggling news outlets, social readers, or small news sites hosted within Facebook, sprung up from the Guardian, the Washington Post, Yahoo, Digg and others.

However, the apps drew ire from Facebook users who found that were sometimes sharing to their newsfeeds the articles that they’d read without explicit permission.

The social readers initially drove traffic to the news sites, but the effect seemed to wane after Facebook began publishing a single highlighted trending article, rather than a list of recently read articles.

The Guardian said that its app saw most active users in April 2012, just before Facebook tinkered with how social reader content was displayed.