Later this month, you might start seeing full New York Times, Buzzfeed, and National Geographic articles and videos directly in your Facebook feed. It's called Instant Articles, according to The Wall Street Journal, and it's been a long time coming. Facebook has hinted for some time that it wants its legions of users to be able read news articles without leaving the social network, and this is the product of those plans.
Get the news without leaving Facebook
A great deal about the program was revealed by the Times back in March, but the Journal has some new details on how Facebook is trying to woo publications to Instant Articles. Under one scheme that's being considered, publications will keep all ad revenue from articles posted on Facebook if the sites themselves sell the ads. If Facebook does the legwork of selling the ads, it will keep 30 percent of the revenue for itself. Those numbers suggest that Facebook doesn't see Instant Articles as a direct revenue stream, but rather as a way to keep its users on its site — a benefit that can indirectly increase Facebook's earnings.
Facebook already has a commanding presence in the news business. The largest publications see a massive percentage of their traffic (and, therefore, ad revenue) come from Facebook referrals. Many sites are wary of giving more control to Facebook, but some see it as a necessary means of survival. Facebook, meanwhile, is reportedly arguing in its pitches that Instant Articles will lead to increased readership, since the articles will pop up quickly straight in the app instead of taking upwards of eight seconds to load in a web browser.