Facebook has been talking for a while about potentially becoming a media depot by streaming articles directly on their app. For as long as Facebook has been considering the idea, people were wondering if such a thing would be detrimental to journalism and many decided that it would. However, the company has decided to launch Facebook Instant Articles anyway, and so far, publishers have given Facebook an upper hand in news with some of the most interesting content.
FB announced its launch of Facebook Instant Articles on Thursday and have claimed that they created FIA with a completely opposite goal in mind. Facebook does not plan to destroy journalism, but to help it.
“We designed Instant Articles to give publishers control over their stories, brand experience, and monetization opportunities. Publishers can sell ads in their articles and keep the revenue, or they can choose to use Facebook’s Audience Network to monetize unsold inventory. Publishers will also have the ability to track data and traffic through comScore and other analytics tools.”
What’s unique about Facebook Instant Article is that the news is written specifically for Facebook and is not published anywhere else. This was reportedly FB’s solution to the assumptions that it could single-handedly ruin journalism. The first collection of “made for Facebook” articles came from BuzzFeed, National Geographic and the New York Times. Though they have been doing well, there is a worry that the generosity of those publications may not be continued in the second round. Facebook, on the other hand, is more concerned with its goal and purpose of Facebook Instant Articles, as was written in blog announcement on Thursday.
“As more people get their news on mobile devices, we want to make the experience faster and richer on Facebook. People share a lot of articles on Facebook, particularly on our mobile app. To date, however, these stories take an average of eight seconds to load, by far the slowest single content type on Facebook. Instant Articles makes the reading experience as much as ten times faster than standard mobile web articles.”
According to the Verge, Facebook Instant Articles is “a turning point for media.” The feed runs on Facebook’s flagship app up to 10 times faster than previous feeds. What reportedly sets the app apart from others is that while loading, you are able to view the beginning of the article, therefore not wasting any time. Facebook’s Chief Product Manager, John Cox, states that “speed is the most important feature for any mobile software,” and with one-third of the American population already getting their news from Facebook, according to Pew Research, speed is only one of the things helping Facebook Instant Articles succeed.
In addition to the three previously mentioned publications, Facebook was also able to sign up the Atlantic, NBC News, BBC News, Germany’s Bild, the Guardian and Der Speigel. Facebook is already well on its way to success with Facebook Instant Articles.
[Image via Facebook Media Blog]