This week, Facebook announced its Instant Articles feature:
As more people get their news on mobile devices, we want to make the experience faster and richer on Facebook. People share a lot of articles on Facebook, particularly on our mobile app. To date, however, these stories take an average of eight seconds to load, by far the slowest single content type on Facebook. Instant Articles makes the reading experience as much as ten times faster than standard mobile web articles.
While I feel uneasy about Facebook taking an even larger role as an intermediary between content publishers and readers, Instant Articles seems to leave much of the control in the hands of content producers (for now).
I actually think the articles themselves look really nice — it's easy to see why Facebook put so much development into Paper — and provide a great user experience.
At launch, publishers can use their own ads and their usual analytics tools with Instant Articles and there will be no preferential treatment for Instant Articles in the News Feed.
Facebook could change this at any moment, though, wielding its media power and forcing publishers to do whatever it wants. We've seen Facebook mess with its algorithms in the past, pushing publishers to pay for placement in users' streams, and I can't help but fear it doing something similar once publishers become reliant on Instant Articles.