Facebook Turns Into A News Service With Instant Articles
This is a kind of revolution that can be experienced by any user with the latest updated version of the app. The articles that are published on Facebook load up to 10 times faster than external links. After several weeks of testing with a small group of Android users, Facebook rolls out this update. It’s already available in Google Play. If you forgot to set up automatic updates you can do it manually.
Of course, this step required serious background efforts. For now, Facebook has agreements with 350 global publications to publish their content on Facebook directly so it’s more easily available from mobile apps. And the project finds more and more partners.
iOS users had their chance to start testing this feature in May 2015. But at that time, the feature was practically useless as the number of content providers was insignificant. Even in September with a public testing start, there were about a dozen sources available.
If users don’t leave Facebook they won’t be redirected to third-party sites. Good for users, of course, but don’t publishers feel like they are put aside from traffic routes on their own content? Yes, they do, but Facebook seemingly has found a way to convince them their revenue won’t descend.
The first reason may be that the articles with the lightning bolt in the upper right corner of a preview are shared more widely and have much more chances to be opened than ordinary reposted articles. The Facebook’s offer site owners couldn’t refuse must have been very attractive. But this part of the story doesn’t have to be revealed as the new experience speaks for itself.
Facebook usually starts innovations on its home US market. But Instant Articles seems to have become international at an amazing pace. So, the new feature is shown to work with India Today on the official image presented by the company. The image also features a low-budget Android smartphone. This choice seems reasonable.
The feature will be in demand mostly in developing countries with slow data speeds. Facebook takes these regions so seriously that even has “2G Tuesdays” so the staff can experience how it feels for pre-3G market users. The more popularity Facebook gains the closer encounters with this ghost from the past it will experience.
For now, Facebook is concentrated on English-speaking regions but later it’s sure to widen its activity to countries with other languages.