Several months ago, Facebook announced "Instant Articles," a new platform for publishers that aimed to speed up the loading times of articles when browsing on the Facebook iOS app, but it was limited to a small number of iPhone users. As of today, Facebook's Instant Articles are rolling out to all iOS users and should be showing up in Facebook timelines starting now.
With Instant Articles, publishers are able to host their posts and stories on the Facebook servers, which are able to load linked articles up to 10 times faster than a separate web app. The platform also includes several interactive tools like photo zooming, maps, auto play videos, audio captions, comments, and more, plus it lets publishers access analytics tools to measure article traffic.
According to Facebook, its users are more likely to read and share content that loads instantly, and content that gets a lot of shares is beneficial to publishers as it ranks higher in the Facebook News Feed.
Several major publications have signed up to use Facebook's Instant Article platform, including The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel, Bild, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Business Insider, Fox Sports, MLB, Hollywood Reporter, The Onion, The Verge, TIME, and more.
Instant Articles are highlighted in the iOS Facebook feed with a lightning bolt icon, letting users know which content has the special formatting.