Facebook Launches ‘Instant Articles’ for Publishing Quick, Interactive Articles

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Facebook has today announced the launch of ‘Instant Articles’, which is a brand new product from the social networking giant that allows publishers to create fast, interactive articles on Facebook, something that might completely change Facebook’s mobile news feed, according to The New York Times. Starting today, all iPhone users (no Android support yet) will be able to view instant articles, and might notice the image in the cover photo move, like the motion in one of the newspaper images in a Harry Potter movie.

“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, and even like and comment on individual parts of an article in-line.”

If you view the first article on the NBC News Facebook page on your iPhone about California almond growers (just tap the cover once to enlarge), it shows a sprinkler watering an almond tree. “You can have these living, breathing photographs that become video,” said Mike Matas, the Facebook product designer for instant articles. You will also notice that the article loads almost instantly. Photos appear in high resolution, and you can zoom in with a touch or tilt the phone to see more of the image, similar to Facebook’s Paper app.

“It kind of takes the best of our storytelling and journalism, in all of its multimedia forms, and renders that beautifully within the Facebook experience in a way that allows us to get traffic credit,” said Julian March, senior vice president for innovation and editorial at NBC News.

Facebook is working with nine launch partners for Instant Articles: The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild. For more information about Instant Articles, check out instantarticles.fb.com.