Facebooks Instant Articles Roll Out for all iPhone Users

  • Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
  • Author: Tim Maytom
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facebook instant article spreadFacebooks Instant Articles, which aim to speed load times for publishers working with the social network, have been around for five months now, and the format is finally being rolled out to all iOS users following an initial limited pilot.

The expansion was announced by Chris Cox, chief product officer for Facebook, at The Wall Street Journals WSJD Conference, where he also revealed that a public beta for Android users would be launching today, with plans to make the feature widely available on Android later this year.

Users accessing Facebook on their iPhone or iPad will see a small lightning bolt icon on certain stories in their News Feed, indicating that the link is an Instant Article, and should load up to 10 times faster than a standard mobile web link on the platform.

The close relationship between the publishers and Facebook has meant that Instant Articles will also feature more dynamic content and interactive features, such as autoplay videos, photo galleries, geo-tagged images that open interactive maps and high-resolution images that can be zoomed into by tilting the device.

As the feature moves from initial testing to full deployment, a wealth of new publishers are joining the original nine partners, including Rolling Stone, E! News, Fox Sports, The Onion, TIME, USA Today, Variety and Seventeen.

While Instant Articles appears to be popular amongst publishers, there are some who have criticised Facebook for increasingly becoming a gatekeeper to the wider internet, with certain content providers favoured over others thanks to their deals with the company. Net neutrality advocates have argued that it hurts the diversity of content online to rely too heavily on a single portal to access information.