Facebook wants to be your one-stop shop for news, with the introduction yesterday of Instant Articles, a way for publishers to get interactive articles to readers instantly.
Facebook responded to complaints from publishers that it was taking too long for shared stories to appear on mobile devices -- smartphones in particular -- by working with those companies to create a platform that brings photos, videos, and text to readers in no time at all.
Instant Articles also provides those who are viewing the content on mobile phones with some interactive features that are quite compelling: auto-play videos show up as you scroll through a story, maps can show where a photo was taken, and audio captions provide the background behind a photo or story. Readers can like or comment on small segments of a story in-line.
For publishers, Instant Articles are providing new ways to monetize content. Publishers have the option of selling ads in their own articles and keeping all of the revenue, or using Facebook’s Audience Network to market unsold space.
Nine launch partners joined with Facebook for Instant Articles; The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel, and Bild. At this time, Instant Articles is only available on Facebook for iPhone.