Oct 14, 2022 - Economy

Scoop: Meta ending support for Instant Articles

Illustration of the Facebook logo with pieces removed as though they are redacted lines of a document

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Meta is ending support for Instant Articles, a proprietary mobile format it debuted in 2015 to quickly load news articles on the Facebook app, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: It's part of a broader effort by Meta to move away from investments in news content on its apps.

  • Last week, Meta confirmed that it would be killing its newsletter platform for journalists and writers called Bulletin.
  • Earlier this year, Axios reported that it was cutting funding for U.S. news publishers.

Details: The company plans to discontinue support for Instant Articles in mid-April 2023, giving news publishers six months to readjust their Facebook strategies, a source told Axios.

  • A Meta spokesperson told Axios in a statement that the format is underutilized.
  • "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,” a Meta spokesperson said.
  • Moving forward, traffic from links on Facebook will be directed to publishers’ mobile websites.

The big picture: Products that debuted years ago to make it easier and faster to load news articles on mobile have been discontinued in the past few months in response to improvements in the mobile web experience that make such platform-specific products obsolete.

  • Google said last year that it would no longer prioritize news articles in search rankings that adopted its accelerated mobile pages (AMP) format, essentially killing the format.

Between the lines: As more social platforms, like Meta, lean into short-form vertical video, most publishers are investing in video content for those platforms anyway.

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