Facebook Looking to Tighten its Grip on News

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  • June 2, 2015

For millions of people, Facebook has become a one-stop-shop for online news and if the social media giant’s latest plans are anything to go by, its grip on the Internet news industry is about to become even tighter.

Instant Articles, as Facebook calls them, are designed to give news organisations the opportunity to create interactive content that can be consumed easier and faster when using Facebook on a mobile device.

This is a highly-attractive prospect for news firms looking to get their content in front of younger audiences. However, many will remain cautious about giving the social network even more power than it already has.

The New York Times, National Geographic, Buzzfeed, the BBC and the Guardian are just some of the organisations who will try out the new system and have their articles hosted directly on Facebook’s servers. This will allow their content to appear instantly and users will no longer have to wait like they do now to open a link.

Under the existing system, news articles can take as long as eight seconds to load on a mobile device.

Unsurprisingly then, Facebook are focusing on speed with the introduction of their Instant Articles.

Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, said: “We think the most important thing here is speed.” He added: “The obvious lesson we keep on learning is that on a mobile phone, the most important thing is immediacy.”

Publishers will be provided with the tools they need to make their content more engaging and attractive to their intended audiences, Facebook said.

The obvious question is how will Facebook prioritise all this different content? For media organisations, getting their news articles above the rest will be paramount, but will this involve a fee or work on a purely algorithmic basis?

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