Facebook, INQUIRER.net deliver ‘instant news’
Now the news on mobile can be read as quickly as news happens in the real world.
Andy Mitchell, director of Facebook’s Global Media Partnerships, announced Thursday the beta launch of Instant Articles in the Philippines.
Instant Articles is a feature that quickly displays news and information on mobile Facebook shared by select partner publishers like INQUIRER.net.
“As more people get their news on mobile devices, we want to make the experience faster and richer on Facebook,” said Mitchell.
He said the average news story takes about eight seconds to load. In the Philippines, which has one of the slowest Internet connections in Asia, it could be longer.
“Instant Articles makes the reading experience as much as 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles,” Mitchell said.
John Nery, editor in chief of INQUIRER.net, said the partnership is a welcome development as more and more audiences shift to mobile for digital news.
“We are delighted to be working closely with Facebook. Already, more than half of our readers read INQUIRER.net on mobile,” Nery said. “Instant Articles will allow us to meet the exacting needs of an ever-growing audience.”
In a country with a population of 100 million, there are at least 109 million mobile user accounts in the Philippines.
People accessing Facebook through applications tailored for iPhones will start seeing lightning bolt icons at the upper right hand corner of some stories shared in the news feeds.
“The lightning bolt indicates it’s an Instant Article,” product manager Michael Reckhow said in a blog post.
Along with a faster experience, Instant Articles introduces a suite of interactive features that allow publishers to bring their stories to life in new ways.
• Zoom in and explore high-resolution photos by tilting your phone
• Watch auto-play videos come alive as you scroll through stories
• Explore interactive maps
• Listen to audio captions
• Like and comment on individual parts of an article in-line.
Expansion in PH
“Expanding Instant Articles in the Philippines is a significant milestone for the product and for each of our early launch partners,” said Mitchell.
“Instant Articles has been designed with extensive feedback from publishers, and we’re excited to bring this collaboration to our publishing partners in Asia to help them distribute fast, interactive articles to their readers in the Facebook app.”
Instant Articles was rolled out in the West in October. The list of launch partners included NBC News, The Atlantic, Slate, The New York Times, The Daily Mail, National Geographic, and the Washington Post.
“We worked closely with our early media partners in the Philippines to begin rolling out Instant Articles locally,” said Ken Cheung, head of Facebook’s Media Partnerships in the Asia Pacific region.
“Internationally, publishers are already sharing thousands of Instant Articles on Facebook each day, and looking ahead we’re excited to partner with more publishers here to bring the Instant Articles experience to more people,” he said.