The fast-loading article style, which was once essential to news sites, was eliminated by Facebook as a result of its shift toward video and deprioritization of political content.
After seven years of dutifully providing quick news and rambling listicles, Meta is finally ending its Instant Articles service. The resignation is the most obvious indication yet of Meta’s shift away from hard reporting and toward video.
A Meta representative confirmed the decision and stated that the company has informed publishers that it would stop supporting Instant Articles by mid-April 2023. This gives publishers around six months to come up with alternate plans. According to reports, readers of Instant Articles who would have otherwise stayed on Facebook will now visit the publisher’s web pages.
For those who are unaware, Facebook Instant Articles are native HTML publications designed for Facebook that are supposed to load particularly rapidly on mobile. Facebook stated that Instant Articles will “load and show 4 times faster than the conventional mobile web” when it first introduced the format. Back in 2015, when reading news on a mobile device via Facebook’s app was one of the hottest commodities, it sounded very alluring to news providers.
Publishers who wanted to reach Facebook’s massive audience but didn’t want to deal with slow-loading mobile pages may benefit from Instant Articles, according to Facebook. That suggestion, though, had a cost. Partners had to put their material on Facebook’s servers and post directly to the website in exchange for faster load times. According to the presentation, news publishers would gain from the size and more eyes from appearing on Facebook’s mobile app, while Facebook benefited right away from a groundswell of content and user engagement. When Instant Articles first came out, publishers had a choice between automatically inserting advertisements or using Facebook’s prized “Audience Network” ad network.
For Facebook, that partnership is no longer economically advantageous.