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Earlier this year Facebook announced Instant Articles, it’s publishing play, but things have been fairly quiet since. On Tuesday however the company has announced that Instant Articles is now live on iPhone starting today. Users can spot an Instant Article by a lightning bolt on the top of right corner of some of the articles.
When the feature was announced earlier this year, Facebook had promised that it would solve the issue that some articles take long to load on mobile. According to Facebook, Instant Articles loads 10x faster than a standard mobile web article.
In the beginning Facebook partnered with nine publishers to launch Instant Articles, The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild. The number of partners has since increased to include publishers like Billboard, Bleacher Report, Breitbart, Business Insider, Bustle, CBS News, CBS Sports, CNET, E! News, Entertainment Weekly, Fox Sports, Harper’s Bazaar, Hollywood Reporter, Mashable, NY Post, The Onion, Rolling Stone, Seventeen, TIME, USA Today, Variety, The Verge among others.
To give users an idea of what a publication can do with Instant Articles, NBC News features videos that come to play automatically as readers scroll through the story, the Atlantic’s photo blog lets users zoom in and explore the details of high-resolution photos by simply tilting their phone and on BuzzFeed, readers can comment and like individual photos and videos in one story instead of the traditional comment and likes only at the bottom of the story.
Instant Articles requires that publishers do a lot more when working on stories and this means that small publishers might not have the resources and capacity but it does take journalism and news consumption to the next great level. The advantage with Instant Articles is the interactive and immersive content, making for multi layered storytelling, making the reader stare longer at an article.
Instant Articles is coming to Android before the end of this year, with a public beta available this week.