Is it a good idea for publishers to put their content directly on Facebook just because it loads faster?
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Facebook is already the way that millions of people get their news but they're getting it in a fashion that Facebook considers really slow it's taking an average of eight seconds between the time you tap on the link inside the Facebook app and the time that the article fully loads on your phone so they came up with instant articles it's a way of downloading those articles to your phone at rapid speed and in so doing Facebook hopes that you'll start consuming more of those articles than ever before that means that Facebook will get you to spend more time in the newsfeed and maybe the publishers who are publishing their articles to Facebook will start seeing more ad revenue it's a big idea and it might actually change the future of media for a lot of people on the team articles is just something that they love to read and we've all experienced that issue of tapping on an article and it takes super long time to load and you're sort of like should I go back or should I wait for it to load is it even reload and so we wanted to start with solving that problem but then go beyond that and bring a lot of the stuff that apps have been using to make experience is really great into publishing stuff like interactive maps audio captions autoplay videos high resolution photos the stuff that people expect from apps that you just don't get in mobile publishing because the tools are there enough so starting today inside the Facebook app some of the articles you'll see there or what's Facebook is calling instant articles as soon as you tap on the link you'll get all of the content from that publisher in a fraction of a second Facebook's also built a lot of tools for those publishers so that they can augment their stories with things like audio captions for photos or interactive maps it's a way of creating a new format just for Facebook when you go to tap on this one of the coolest things about instant articles is the article loads instantly so using a bunch of the stuff that Facebook's built up over the past couple years to make their photos and videos really fast we've now brought that to articles so when you tap on an article it loads instantly not only that we've given publishers a bunch of new creative tools to do stuff like autoplay video inline you can tap on the video and zoom into it and tilt around and see all the detail in this HD while its client and just by moving your hand you can sort of change the view of the video yeah you just tilt your phone back and forth and you can go look around it like you're there kind of those bees are terrifying by the way yeah my goodness and Facebook also did a lot of work to make sure that when you load up an article it feels like a story from that publisher so a National Geographic article actually looks like a National Geographic article it has a logo it shows you the author the photographer it even shows you their Facebook profiles in case you want to follow them and see more of their work and the sum total is something that feels more like a brand new format for publishing news more than just a different container for it inside the Facebook app so you guys build a lot of creative tools for publishers to take advantage of when they're putting together their instant articles why take that approach why not just sort of create a like box of text and let them drop in a couple of pictures I think the team is just legitimately motivated by making great articles you know that's sort of what we approach this project from the beginning as how could we bring lots of the stuff that publishers love to do in print and in traditional desktop websites and give them tools I can more easily be done on a mobile phone because that's a place that so many people are reading articles these days but it's really really difficult to create really interactive immersive experiences here most publishers today are still thinking in terms of website specifically desktop websites what Facebook wanted them to do was to create a new feed of content that would look really good on mobile so they created a way for publishers to easily upload everything they're doing straight to Facebook Facebook parses through that information and serves it up in a format that not only looks good on Facebook but is probably something that most publishers wouldn't be able to do themselves so let's just say it however instant articles play out on Facebook will likely have a big effect on the verge and on our parent company Vox media we're not a launch partner with instant articles but maybe we will be down the road and like any publisher will have to think about exactly what that means and what trade-offs were willing to make in the past publishers made a thing and then the audience came to that thing you made a newspaper like this or you made a website now with instant articles publishers are being asked to just become kind of one more stream of content on Facebook which means that they have to give up some control right now they don't have to give up any ad revenue down the road they probably will be asked to give up some of that revenue so there are a lot of trade offs that publishers are going to have to consider Facebook has a huge audience but that huge audience comes with some caveats