Facebook is currently in the process of testing their newest venture, ‘Instant Articles’. Launched on May 13th, Instant Articles aims to put articles from many of the world’s major news corporations directly onto a Facebook user’s feed.
It’s estimated that 60% of Facebook’s 890 million users who log on daily access the site from their mobile device. For many of these users, a high proportion of their news feed is made up articles and stories from news providers. Previously, if a mobile user wanted to read one of these articles in full, it would have been opened either in a new browser tab or the news provider’s dedicated mobile app. This resulted in, on average, an eight second load speed; a long time for today’s speed-conscious Internet user.
Instant Articles puts the news articles from 9 major publishers (including Buzzfeed, BBC News and The Guardian) directly onto a Facebook news feed, without every leaving the Facebook mobile site or app. Articles in the news feed are now displayed in a similar way to photographs.
However, since its May 13th launch day, no new Instant Articles have been published. According to Facebook, this is because they were conducting a one article test per publisher, and they plan to publish more articles soon. It’s likely that Instant Articles will be rolled out slowly to allow Facebook, and the publishers involved, to respond to any mistakes and gather feedback from customers. Despite it’s slow roll out, Instant Articles shows that Facebook are making another step towards the user-friendly, personal experience that web users demand nowadays.