Facebook Instant Articles aim to take over online news

Facebook - looking to corner news
Facebook - looking to corner news

Facebook is taking on web news - with its Instant Articles allowing major media to put their wares straight onto the social network as well (or rather than) on their own sites.

Working with major players at the start, like the BBC, Guardian, Buzzfeed and National Geographic, the move is potentially transformative to the internet.

Although many doubts will surface about the return of a walled-garden private internet, controlled by a single entity, Facebook will feel that this is a major step in remaining relevant and getting news to its younger demographic.

Facebook has also insisted that the move will help end delays of those clicking on links to external sites, citing mobile phone users as a primary reason for the need for a streamlined experience.

Ring-fenced or just another platform?

The media owners will have a 100% share of revenue from any adverts that are sold on the pages - at least to start with - and some will choose to only host bits of content on the social network, eschewing their own sites.

The BBC has already confirmed that it will not go down this route: "Some will be using those tools to make tailored content for Instant Articles, others, including the BBC, which will soon start using the service with its Newsbeat material, will decline that option.

"They will not want to put on Facebook's servers anything that is not available on their own sites."

The articles will have extended functionality, with a blog post from Facebook explaining: "Along with a faster experience, Instant Articles introduces a suite of interactive features that allow publishers to bring their stories to life in new ways.

"Zoom in and explore high-resolution photos by tilting your phone. Watch auto-play videos come alive as you scroll through stories. Explore interactive maps, listen to audio captions, and even like and comment on individual parts of an article in-line."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.