Facebook will be getting rid of Instant Articles after introducing the format for publishers to “create fast and interactive articles” on the platform. A notification to publishers announced that Facebook will stop supporting the feature by April 2023.
“Starting in mid-April 2023, Instant Articles will no longer be available. Until then, you will still have access to insights and monetization related to your Instant Articles. As of October 14, 2022, Instant Articles will be available only to existing partners,” wrote Meta to publishers.
If you’re not familiar with what Instant Articles are, they’re basically native HTML documents intended to load especially quickly on Facebook’s mobile application. Facebook boasted that Instant Articles would “load and display four times faster than the standard mobile web”. It also gave publishers the ability to insert their own ads.
However, in my own personal experience, reading these Instant Articles on the Facebook app was less than convenient. The articles loaded fast, but sometimes the articles were missing half of the content.
Meta getting rid of this format could mean that they’re going to focus more on video-related content rather than article-based journalism. According to a Meta spokesperson, “currently less than 3% of what people around the world see in Facebook’s Feed are posts with links to news articles”.
“…And as we said earlier this year, as a business it doesn’t make sense to over-invest in areas that don’t align with user preferences,” continued the spokesperson.
Additionally, an investigation in 2018 found that 29 Facebook pages and associated websites allegedly used Instant Articles to push out blatantly false news stories. This also meant that Facebook itself earned a share of the revenue from the fake news, which doesn’t bode well with them at all.