Facebook Instant Articles Appear in (Some) Feeds, but All the Same Questions Await

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Facebook Instant Articles
Facebook Instant Articles

If you're wondering what ever happened to those Facebook Instant articles you were promised back in May, now there's word. Facebook has been testing instantly-loaded articles, hosted within Facebook instead of on publishers' sites, for the past couple of weeks, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. But you probably aren't seeing them, as the Journal explains:

That's because the articles have only been available to a small test audience of 5% of iOS mobile users in the U.S. that have downloaded the Facebook app, according to Alex MacCallum, the assistant managing editor for audience development at the New York Times, one of the publishers involved in the initiative.

Facebook is gathering feedback "from people and publishers" before it rolls the feature out widely, a spokeswoman told The Journal. That means that in addition to waiting to try it out in your own news feed, you've got to wait for answers to the obvious question about the plan: whether publishers will benefit enough from a revenue share around ads to make up for the loss of traffic to their own sites. Publishers also worry that the social network could change the rules down the road, either at the expense of Instant Articles participants or the publishers that don't play along

Publishers that have signed on to try out Instant Articles include the Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, NBC News, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild.