Instant Articles is an HTML document that made its debut in Facebook back in 2015, it was designed to help load news articles faster compared to the standard mobile web. But now the tool is set to reach end of life next year in April.
A spokesman from Meta confirmed the move and further told Sara Fischer of Axios that:
Currently less than 3% of what people around the world see in Facebook’s Feed are posts with links to news articles. And as we said earlier this year, as a business, it doesn’t make sense to over invest in areas that don’t align with user preferences.
This move is part of Meta's greater effort to transition from investments in news content on its apps to virtual content. Meta has further indicated that their users on Facebook are consuming a lot of visual content inform of short clips as compared to how they are interacting with news articles, which has negatively impacted the use of Instant Articles. The cause of this can be attributed to the enahnced internet speeds as well as modern devices that now load news articles at lightening speeds.
Meta had already set the ball in motion earlier this year where we saw it cut the payments that were usually made to US publishers for featuring their content on the News tab. With the end of support for the platform six months away, publishers have ample time to re-evaluate their strategies and come up with a plausible solution that will suit them best. Once support for Instant Articles is cut, a user will be redirected to the publisher's website whenever the click on a news article link on Facebook.
In other related news, we saw Meta and Microsoft partner up last week to bring VR experiences to businesses and consumers with the Quest Pro.