Google has its own AMP (accelerated mobile pages) project and Apple News offers an optimized version of content specifically for iOS, but Facebook is leading the way with its instant articles.
Not only one of the quickest options, Facebook offers solutions which allow its instant articles to support AMP and, soon, Apple News, as part of its SDK which includes open code.
The next update of the SDK will include an extension which will allow writers to create content which is publishable in three different formats, beginning with support for Google’s AMPs alongside Facebook’s own articles. The next few weeks will also see support for Apple News released, although an exact release date has not yet been confirmed.
While the different systems are not identical, Facebook will offer tools for editors to use on their personal styles and services, even those offered by competitors. That will include adaptations such as sources and colours among others.
The aim of the change is to offer a unified design to publish on any platform, allowing any company to put Facebook among its top priorities.
The idea to launch the extension has come from Facebook’s journalism project, a new program that has the aim of connecting editors from all over the world with Facebook to share ideas and help to guide the social media giant down the right path with its new developments.
However, the launch has not come at the ideal time, with a number of editors recently choosing to abandon Facebook given its lack of monetization opportunities. Editors are unhappy with the way in which Facebook distributes income and the format of instant articles that doesn’t fuel reader engagements.
Although Facebook has acted to optimize pages for mobile, offering an improved experience for readers who no longer have to handle slow loading times with a number of distractions, editors cannot publish adverts, raise funds or re-direct traffic to contact form or subscriptions. Facebook is trying to combat these concerns though, changing the rules and adding new features to the instant articles.
Now, through linking instant articles with AMP and Apple News, the company is hoping to attract editors back to its own platform by making publication on three platforms at once a possibility. Although there is still a long way to go, Facebook are on the right path to fulfil the needs and desires of editors worldwide.