Facebook Instant Articles open to everyone. After about a year of testing, with the help of some major newspapers (the press for Italy), the service is ready to open its doors in an official way. The announcement comes directly from Facebook: starting April 12, date of F8 Conference, the program will be open to any publisher interested. For “publisher” refers to both the editors how many bloggers: anyone consider a chance the service may take advantage of it by offering their own content to the social network of Mark Zuckerberg.
And we can be sure: the weeks that will anticipate the opening will be full of opinions and of benchmarking, with the publishing world ready to divide on the issue of principle that it’s smart or not entrust their destiny to Facebook. And in all likelihood they will then only tests to determine where are the opportunities and where the mere risk.
The principle itself is simple: If a Publisher so desires, may publish their own content directly to Facebook. So you don’t have to run around looking for the clicks to monetize the user contacted on social networks, because the monetization will be immediate: o using its own Publisher (retaining 100% of income) or by an advertiser offered by Facebook (by cashing out on 70% Facebook Audience Network), the content will still be monetized via the social network app (for Android or iOS).
What Facebook gains from the project Instant Articles is a series of premium content to improve the reading experience of their community, increasing the degree of involvement and time spent on their pages. In Exchange for Facebook provides a community potential by a billion and a half people and at the same time extremely fast mobile reading experience. The speed, of course, is a parameter on which to play most of the match mobile: If Facebook takes care of pagination, traffic management (up to 10 times faster) and the quality of the experience of reading, then already resolved many of the problems that a Publisher could cross.
Fast, simple, scalable, interactive, immersive, responsive: so Facebook describes its service, promising a relationship with such partners to which they remain in full control of their data traffic (and monetization) and fully able to customize their pages. Facebook Instant Articles is available for iPhone and Android and now offers the “stories” published by the New York Times, National Geographic, NBC News, The Guardian, BBC, Bild, Slate, Huffington Post, Washington Post and others.
The project, obviously, open an issue extremely important destined to affect much on the debate surrounding the identity crisis today’s journalistic and editorial world: what business strategy can lead to delegate to a third group access to its contents, the sale of their listings, control of their experience and the management of its community? All these aspects are somehow placed in the hands of Facebook, which has the ability to make the good and the bad weather simply editing algorithms (by now is well known), never can be really neutral as long as their very existence is based on the logic of profit.
Conversely: can a Publisher refuse a showcase within a community unparalleled in terms of volume? And what would be the best way, the right balance between visibility, monetization and user loyalty?
Many of these questions will be answered if not in direct experience of those who will open their own content in the world of Facebook Instant Articles. Meanwhile, with the project of social networks should be discounted other news aggregators (Google, Apple, signed or others), but all based on a radically different model: Facebook is the only one who creates a parallel world to the Web where browsing content on the basis of the rules and principles of a social network. Which you configure, catastrophic for positive or it can be the thing, as something completely new.