Guardian Facebook app

How the app appeared within Facebook when launched

The Guardian has announced a "shift" in its approach to Facebook integration, with users to no longer be able to read Guardian content within the social network using the Guardian's Facebook app.

The change takes effect from Monday, the Guardian has confirmed, driven by a desire "to switch our focus to creating more social participation for our users on our own core properties, beginning with guardian.co.uk", group product manager Anthony Sullivan said in a post on the Inside the Guardian blog.

Journalism.co.uk understands that the change means the functionality of the app which enables users to read content within Facebook is being removed, but the app itself will continue to exist as it enables other aspects of the Guardian's Facebook integration, such as social login on the news outlet website.

In this week's announcement Sullivan said the decision to bring the "reading experience within Facebook was also a conscious decision to give us space to experiment away from the main Guardian website".

He added that since its launch in September last year 12 million users of the social network "have authenticated the Guardian Facebook app ... and at its peak (April 2012) we were seeing 6 million active monthly users".

He said the app "has helped us learn much more about our new and existing readership which, as a digital first organisation, is crucial" and "played an integral role in helping us understand best practice for the social discovery of news".

Despite deciding to move the reading experience away from Facebook, Sullivan said "Facebook remains a hugely important platform through which a global audience is able to discover our content and we continue to work closely with them on our future plans, which they fully support".

"At the Guardian, we take the view that we need to be in a position to work with platforms as they evolve, and with users as they explore new ways of interacting with our content.

"The way we prefer to do this is to experiment and learn what works. This is an example of that approach and we think the next incarnation of social participation will be a useful enhancement to the Guardian site."

In a statement a spokesperson for Guardian News & Media added: "Our priority as a digital first organisation is to ensure that we’re providing the best possible experience for our users on Facebook, and we’re lucky enough to be in a strong, agile position to be able to move quickly with platforms as they evolve, and with users as they explore new ways of interacting with our content."

The Guardian was one of a number of media outlets which launched Facebook apps last year. This also included the Independent which, unlike the Guardian and other titles, decided to have the app work within its own website, rather than within Facebook.

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