Facebook unveils Instant Articles for Android users

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Instant Articles Feature Goes Global.

WASHINGTON, United States—Facebook said Wednesday it had signed up 350 global media partners for its “Instant Articles” service as it expanded the program to Android devices. Facebook said on Wednesday that its Instant Articles feature is now available to all Android users, and that more than 350 publishers around the world are now using it. Some analysts have expressed concern that Facebook’s program and similar offerings from Google and others could mean media organizations lose control of their audiences and content. Now, the company says it has over 350 newspapers, magazines and websites that are publishing their content directly to Facebook through Instant Articles. From Canada there’s Chatelaine, Diply, The Huffington Post Canada, Journal de Montreal, Maclean’s, Sportsnet, The Canadian Press, and TVA Nouvelles.

The list includes several publishers in China, Australia, more than a dozen each in India, France, and Germany, as well as multiple partners in Spain, the United Kingdom (including the Daily Mail and the Economist) and several countries in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Facebook claims Instant Articles are more widely shared than conventional links, an attempt to assuage the fears of publishers who feel they are increasingly beholden to a third-party company for traffic, and thus, revenue.

At least one of those publishing partners—namely, the Washington Post—has taken an all-in approach and is distributing 100% of its news output through Facebook. An August study revealed Facebook as the largest driver of traffic to news sites, with nearly 43% of traffic from the 400 outlets studied coming from Facebook. The benefit of the Instant Articles program is that the articles load more quickly than do traditional links from most news sites, and that means they also get clicked on more often and shared more often. Facebook hasn’t said whether this will influence how they are displayed in its news feed, but it’s not hard to imagine that it will have an effect.

Facebook has put much of its recent effort toward making its products better for developing markets, where broadband and data speeds are slow and more users are on mobile than desktop.

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