After months of anticipation, Facebook is at last expanding Instant Articles, its native publishing platform, in a big way. The social network is rolling out Instant Articles to all iOS users today, along with a public beta for Android. This is a major push for the new format, which Facebook has been aggressively pursuing through partnerships with publishers like the New York Times, BuzzFeed, and the Washington Post.
“Instant Articles not only connect readers to stories faster; they also provide a richer reading experience than standard mobile web articles, with dynamic features that make the content more fluid, interactive, and immersive,” Facebook explained in a blog post.
Within your news feed, Instant Articles will be denoted by a small lightning bolt icon. Facebook is experimenting with custom functionality for publishers, including in-article comments, photo galleries, and interactive maps; the company is also introducing a slew of new publishers to the platform in the coming weeks.
At the moment, Instant Articles is still a semi-closed format for which publishers have to apply to gain access. Facebook is hoping to attract additional media brands–though it likely won’t have to try hard, once they see competitors signed up–by promising them faster mobile loading times and 100% of the ad revenue if the publisher personally handles ad placement. If publishers allow Facebook to manage their advertising, however, the company will take a healthy 30% commission.
Google recently created an open-source rival format called Accelerated Mobile Pages; one of its major launch partners was Twitter.
[via The Verge]