Social media news- Facebook Instant Articles go live
They say in social media land nothing stays still for longer than the average tweet takes to write. And whilst you might spend a while mulling over the best turn of 140-character-phrase, you probably get what we mean.
With mobile-first rapidly becoming the standard, it’s unsurprising the latest update to the world’s foremost network- Facebook- is focusing on the way in which users access content via devices such as smartphones. Introducing Facebook Instant Articles, a divisive new offering from Camp Zuckerberg that looks to improve the experience for people reading shared articles through the social media channel.
How does it work?
Traditionally, or perhaps more appropriately, up until now, whenever you click on an article on your Facebook News Feed you are redirected to the host website. For example, Guardian.co.uk. All this is beginning to change, because with Instant Articles the entire article will now be viewed within Facebook itself, reducing load-times for the content (which currently average out at around eight-seconds; not very long in real terms, but an age in the digital, super fast, give-it-me-now-or-I’m-going-home era).
Is everyone using it?
Nope. As of yesterday, New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC News and The Atlantic were the only publishers trialling the new system, which is currently only live in the U.S. Europe will see its testing begin in summer, with The Guardian, Bild, Spiegel, and BBC News involved to begin with.
Sounds great, I’m sick of loading times from Facebook.
Hmmm. Yes, in many ways it does sound pretty good, and the whole concept re-emphasises the idea that Facebook is only as good as the content being shared, and the content will only be shared if people don’t have to wait around. There are plenty of critics, though. Already people are concerned over how much additional data will be stored by Facebook when users are reading articles in this way. We’d also say there’s a chance it could result in an even greater disparity between publishers, with those who don’t sign up penalised- inadvertently by Facebook users who don’t want to wait whilst a page loads up- for not getting involved.
How will it impact me then?
Well, in the simplest way of looking at things you can expect to start accessing articles on your mobile, sourced through Facebook, much faster. That’s bound to feel better than the current situation. It’s also worth pointing out that as of yet we’re not 100% sure of what this means for navigation into other pages of the website the article originated from. Facebook would never introduce a system that prevented people from clicking through to other areas of a domain from a single article, but if that takes notably more time than the single article took to appear within Facebook, it could actually deter people from bothering to click through to another area of the website- thus doing the publishers a disservice.
Anything else to add?
Not really. But if you do, there’s a comments form below, and we’d love to hear a few thoughts.