In a public Q&A session with Mark Zuckerberg, social media giant’s CEO reveals Facebook “Instant Articles”, a news feature to change the way people get news online.
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Instant Articles is the company’s way of playing a larger role in the World Wide Web, instead of just being a website where friends post selfies and cryptic Facebook statuses.
“One of the biggest issues today is just that reading news is slow. If you’re using our mobile app and you tap on a photo, it typically loads immediately. But if you tap on a news link, since that content isn’t stored on Facebook and you have to download it from elsewhere, it can take 10+ seconds to load”, Zuckerberg explained.
Basically, according to the Facebook CEO, all Facebook mainly wants to help media companies. It wants users to consume more news by making news stories load faster and look better on mobile devices. Media business optimists are seeing this as one more way to increase readers and revenue.
But not everyone is buying Facebook’s explanation. Critics think that Instant Articles will destroy the notion of a newspaper or magazine website as a standalone brand to be digested whole, rather than broken up into scattered stories.
Instant Articles could “dilute (publisher) brands as destination sites and…boost the platform brand”, says Gordon Crovitz, a media advisor and former publisher of the Wall Street Journal.
Scared that Facebook is only concerned about changing its revenue split to the detriment of publishers, veteran media practitioner Dan Gillmor said that signing a deal would be a dangerous move.