Facebook has announced that it is retiring its Instant Articles feature in a bid to shift away from news content and favour more entertaining content such as videos. These changes will take place in April next year. What does this mean for Meta and are they steering the platform away from the Facebook we all know?
What are Instant Articles?
Facebook Instant Articles are fast, collaborative articles that drive significant traffic for publishers. Over 37,000 Pages on Facebook use Instant articles. With the help of Facebook’s Instant Articles, publishers can deliver stories in branded, customisable article formats that render swiftly on mobile. These articles are HTML documents that load incredibly quickly on Facebook.
With Instant Articles, publishers can distribute content that they already create for their own websites more quickly and natively. News publishers must publish every Instant Article on their website as well.
Publishers and readers continue to connect to content when sharing Instant Articles on Facebook. The feed links to each article’s unique URL, so readers can choose to view the Instant Article version.
Why is Facebook Removing Instant Articles?
Instant Articles were first introduced in 2015. Their goal was to give publishers a quick way to deliver their articles on Facebook and increase reader engagement on the app. However, recent changes to the app would make us believe that developing relationships with publishers is less important and not the way forward for Facebook.
Meta has stopped supporting Instant Articles in order to better meet user tastes, which increasingly favour video content. According to Zuckerberg 50% of all time spent on Facebook is spent watching videos. Additionally, Reels are the fastest-growing content type on both Facebook and Instagram. Zuckerburg stated that Facebook users “don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our platforms,”.
The future of Meta
Meta is now pushing more engaging video content into users’ feeds. This content is based on AI-based suggestions rather than the people you follow or are linked to. The user experience has already changed to reflect what Zuckerberg envisions as the future of Facebook.
TikTok especially has altered people’s perceptions of what social media can—and perhaps should—be. They have a greater emphasis on entertainment rather than allowing users to express their opinions on each given topic.
Facebook was built on the idea of connecting you to your close friends and family. Consequently, you might miss out on some of the most valuable updates posted by people you will never interact with.
What do you think about the changes Meta is making to become a more entertaining, engaging and video-based platform? Do you think they are trying too hard to be like TikTok and follow their success? Or are they just making strategic business decisions based on evidence right in front of them? Head over to our social media to carry on the conversation!