Facebook is partnering with news publishers to directly host articles on the social network. According to Facebook, Instant Articles will give “publishers more control over their stories, brand experiences and monetization opportunities.”
The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild have signed on as the initial partners, allowing Facebook to handle their mobile content.
Instant Articles is launching on Facebook for iPhone.
Facebook says Instant Articles will load 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles, providing users with a faster experience and that the interactive features will allow “publishers to bring their stories to life in new ways.”
Among the features: ability to zoom in on high-resolution photos, watch auto-play videos, explore interactive maps and listen to audio captions, making the content more reader-friendly. Users will also be able to like and comment on individual parts of an article in-line.
In its description of the product, Facebook states “publishers can sell ads in their articles and keep the revenue, or they can choose to use Facebook’s Audience Network to monetize unsold inventory. Publishers will also have the ability to track data and traffic through comScore and other analytics tools.”
It remains to be seen if this news distribution model will end up benefiting the media companies, as Facebook users wouldn’t need to go to the news sites themselves to read the articles.