Facebook opens up Instant Articles

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 18 February 2016
Facebook Instant Articles

Anyone will soon be able to use Instant Articles as Facebook looks to expands its news service platform.

The tech giant announced it is opening up the platform and on 12 April, all publishers will be able to use it to publish articles.

It is thought the move will increase pressure on publishers to use the Instant Articles format, in order to keep up with their peers.

Instant Articles was introduced in the US in May last year and aims to bring content from publishers directly into the Facebook feed.

It loads articles more quickly inside the Facebook app by stripping out code and pre-fetching stories when a user approaches them in the feed. Publishers can also make money by selling ads inside the stories.

There had been concerns from publishers and the wider media industry that Instant Articles could erode a publisher's audience and revenue by cutting out the publisher-owned platform in favour of direct eyeballs within Facebook. It also dislocates the publisher from the content, putting Facebook at the centre.

Facebook already has a stronghold on content distribution, with many publishers already getting a significant proportion of their traffic from social, however, it has been welcomed by publishers. The Washington Post, The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian and BBC News are already on board.

In December last year, Fairfax announced it was the first local publisher to join the Australian launch of Instant Articles, coinciding with a tweak to the platform that allows more ads to appear within content.

Fairfax says it will offer readers of The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and New Zealand site Stuff.co.nz an “immediate, radically improved and more engaging mobile experience” than what it offered previously.

 

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