Facebook releases Instant Articles, a new social news sharing platform for online content producers.
Last year, Facebook released “Paper“, an app designed to be a total re-imagining of Facebook, set to revolutionise the way we receive news. However, the app didn’t really take off as expected.
Fast forward one year and the social media giant has forayed once more into the social news arena, but this time they’ve stayed within the Facebook app to allow online publishers to create “fast, interactive articles”. The “Paper” aesthetic is still very much alive – the articles are crisp, immersive and minimalistic.
These articles, rather than linking back to the publisher’s website, can be read entirely from within the Facebook app, without the need to open an external window. This means users get their news faster – ten times faster, according to Facebook – and can share it more easily.
This is great news for online content producers. Already, the service boasts the New York Times, National Geographic, Buzzfeed and The Guardian among its users, and the fast-loading articles have already started to appear in newsfeeds around the world. However, not everyone is excited about Instant Articles. Publishing directly to Facebook rather than to the publisher’s ad-supported website means producers won’t be receiving the revenue they normally would from the content. Facebook has agreed to hand over 100% of the revenue from ads displayed beside their articles “if they sell and serve the ads themselves.” Of course, the content published on Facebook will almost certainly be posted on the publisher’s website too, but considering how many people read articles shared on Facebook, Instant Articles could be significantly reducing the amount of online ad revenue given that Facebook advertising generally costs a lot less than advertising on a news website.
At the moment, the feature is only open to a select few publishers, but you can read more information on how to become an Instant Articles partner here.