LinkedIn Pulse is an interesting move. When you look at Pulse and the Activity feed, it's all about keeping people active on the site beyond just popping in to update what is, ultimately, just a form of online resumé. LinkedIn need people to be on the site regularly in order to make it more of a hub, all be it a hub with a work focus. I actually think it has been quite successful, and far from being desperate, I just see it as another offering to those who want it. Certainly I engage more with LinkedIn than I ever used to, and I post content there when I would not have done before, and - more importantly - that content gets responses.
As for FB Paper, I'll wait and see on that one. I'm not convinced yet.