Has Facebook postponed ‘Instant Articles’?

09/06/2015

Facebook revealed its ‘Instant Articles’ app function to much fanfare in May, offering fast loading feature-rich articles to mobile users. But three weeks on, a lack of articles has led to speculation that the social network could be experiencing problems with its latest attempt to disrupt the publishing business model.

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Launched on May 12, Facebook’s ‘Instant Articles’ is a controversial publishing tool that encourages news companies to post their articles directly to Facebook, instead of linking them to outside websites.

The format was designed in order to improve the loading time of articles in mobile version. Facebok claims it is ten times faster in terms of loading than if users click on a link that directs them to a publisher’s website.

At launch, Facebook partnered with nine publishers, including BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and National Geographic.

However, three weeks on the roll out has been much slower than expected.

Facebook posts links to all the Instant Articles here, but no new stories have been published since launch.

With Facebook giving publishers 100% of revenue from ads appearing inside articles — and taking 30% of revenue for the ads it sells against them — optimists in the media business saw it as one more way to increase readers and revenue.

Critics saw it as a dangerous concession that being a destination site for readers isn't important and worried that Facebook would change its revenue split model to the detriment of publishers.

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