On Wednesday morning, Facebook began its long-awaited foray into publishing, with so-called “Instant Articles” from publishers including the New York Times, Buzzfeed and National Geographic appearing natively in the latest version of Facebook’s iPhone app, instead of linking out to their websites.
The social networking site touted the faster load times for these articles in a promotional video.
Introducing Instant Articles, a new tool for publishers to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook.
Posted by Facebook Media on Tuesday, May 12, 2015
But that’s hardly the whole story.
“It is true that it will load and create a better experience for users, but it’s also true that Facebook will get more data and also enable them to sell more ads,” says Ben Schachter, Internet analyst at Macquarie Securities. Media partners can choose to sell their own ads and retain 100 percent of the revenue, but they can also rely on Facebook’s ad network, and let Facebook take a cut of 30 percent.
Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab, thinks this deal may work out in the short-term for the nine publishers involved today’s launch, but he worries about what will happen further into the future.
“Down the road, I think the dystopian vision is that this is another step toward Facebook becoming the Internet,” he says.
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