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Facebook confirms it will add subscriptions to Instant Articles

Facebook confirms it will add subscriptions to Instant Articles


An effort to win publishers back

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You will soon be able to subscribe to publications after reading their stories in Facebook’s Instant Articles, the company confirmed Wednesday. CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that the company will begin testing subscriptions inside Instant Articles, the company’s fast-loading news format, later this fall. “If people subscribe after seeing news stories on Facebook, the money will go directly publishers who work hard to uncover the truth, and Facebook won't take a cut,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post. “We plan to start with a small group of U.S. and European publishers later this year and we’ll listen to their feedback.”

News that paid subscriptions were coming was first reported by Recode last month. Big publishers including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have begun moving away from Instant Articles amid concerns that the format caused them to lose money without substantially growing their audiences on Facebook. If Facebook can help those publishers increase subscription revenue, some have indicated that they would be willing to come back.

Facebook declined to specify which publishers would participate in the test. The company says it is seeking to include a range of publishers of different sizes, geographical locations, and business models. That means both newspapers and magazines, and publications that use paywalls and those that offer “freemium” models.

The final group of publishers will be revealed before the test begins, Facebook said. 

Zuckerberg’s full post is below.