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Facebook Braced for Massive Instant Articles Influx

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Facebook's much bragged-about Instant Articles feature has been... What? Instant Articles. Yes, it's a thing, it's been out for like a month. Just because you don't remember doesn't mean it didn't happen! Look, we even wrote about it, see? Anyway, yes, it hasn't exactly been the most popular or active thing they've ever rolled out, but that's all about to change.

Several signed publications are gearing up to unleash a huge amount of articles on the service. The New York Times, BuzzFeed and The Atlantic are among them. This new wave of content comes after a near 3 week lull since the last new article appeared on the hub (published by the Guardian). Both the New York Times and NBC News have said that they intend to start posting over 30 articles per day.

Facebook have claimed that they always expected Instant Articles to get off to something of a slow start, but whether or not the recent slow-down was intentional on their part or not is hard to say. A number of partner publications did express some worry that, less than giving people a new more direct conduit for news, Facebook were just trying to stop people from navigating out of their site to read things. It's probably a little from column A and a little from column B, but any misgivings about it seem to have evaporated.

Of course, the quantity of output is only half of the story, the user response and engagement has to be enough to make it worthwhile and that's very hard to predict at this stage. They wisely decided to have Instant Articles as a feature of the main iOS app rather than a standalone like Moments, since the whole ethos behind it was to streamline the way people are given news, asking them to go out of their way to get it would defeat the object.

The other side effect of this is that people are going to be seeing a lot more ads. Any ads sold on Instant Articles offer 100% of the revenue back to the seller, and 70% if Facebook sell it, which was likely the carrot that got so many publications interested in the first place. If this blows up in the way it's threatening to, it could really shake up the board for mainstream online journalism.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Facebook Braced for Massive Instant Articles Influx Reviewed by Callum Davies on Monday, June 29, 2015 Rating: 5

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