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The social networking giant said that it’s launching Instant Articles with nine initial partners: The Atlantic, BBC News, Bild, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, National Geographic, NBC, The New York Times, and Spiegel. Only select articles from the publishers are being included initially.
The program has been rumored for weeks. It’s the next level of Facebook’s embrace with publishers, which have often seen traffic flow to their sites as a result of sharing on the social network. And faster-loading content can also help Facebook improve user engagement — users can happily check out and scroll through articles and then move on, rather than getting frustrated with subpar application performance. 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.
Facebook will have to obtain the content before piping it in to its app, and that may mean news articles, pictures, and videos will be sent into Facebook’s data centers as soon as publishers can get it out the door. Eventually that content can add up and become another type of material to take up space on hard drives — next to user-generated content and analytics data that Facebook keeps on hand.
An article from one publisher might not be easily mistaken for content from another publisher. Flipboard, for one, gives publishers the ability to customize the reading experience for their content, and Facebook is doing something similar here. Facebook is providing publishers with multiple options. Publishers can sell ads in their articles and keep the revenue, or they can choose to use Facebook’s Audience Network. Publishers will also have the ability to track data and traffic through comScore and other analytics tools.”