Facebook has grown to be a middle man of news We post, share, read, and discuss stories in our News Feeds every day. When someone you know posts an item from the New York Times or Buzzfeed the destination link is the publishers original site. Sometimes they aren’t mobile friendly or the content lurks behind a paywall. This all changes today.
Facebook has announced that starting this Wednesday big name publishers will have their stories exist solely on the Facebook platform and not link to independent websites. When you click, the story will open more like a friend’s profile page rather than an outside post. Facebook says that this process will save you 8-12 seconds to view the content and will include GIFS, audio and video elements.
The new program is called “Instant Articles” and there are a number of publishers participating. Inaugural partners include NBC, National Geographic, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel, Bild, Buzzfeed and the New York Times.
One of the problems with Facebook Instant Articles is that it will only be available on the iPhone, which might be a fairly limited audience. In addition publishers rely on internet traffic coming to their main or mobile website in order to garner revenue from advertising or affiliates. Since the stories will only existing on Facebook it might be difficult to monetize the platform.
I think that users will ultimately be the ones benefiting from this program. You can read all of the news without having to actually leave Facebook and load external sites.