Facebook to host full news stories, and publishers keep ad revenue

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By Larry Banks

Facebook intends to publish and host news articles and content from sites such as The New York Times directly on the social network. In return, it will allow the third-party publishers to keep the revenue from ads associated with their content.

Facebook to host full news content

That’s according to the latest report from The Wall Street Journal, which referred to unnamed sources in a report about a new feature called Instant Articles. The idea is still being finalised and some publishers are apparently “wary of tethering themselves more tightly” to the social media giant.

The new feature may launch as early as this month, said the Journal, however it’s unclear what control publishes would have (some of them receive more than 50% of their traffic via Facebook links).

But by including news and videos from other sites directly in Facebook, Instant Articles would speed up the process of clicking on a link to an article in the Facebook feed. That’s quite frustrating if you are using a mobile device, while your preferred web browser opens. Typically, it can take anywhere from 5 seconds upwards.

The new Facebook feature aims to improve the user experience by reducing loading times. At the moment clicking a news story takes you to the publication’s website, with additional loading time, and also taking users away from the social network. With Instant Articles however, all the content would load more immediately, and keep users engaged on the site.

Facebook Instant Articles

The move is aimed at improving the user experience on the world’s largest social network. Today, clicking on a news story on Facebook directs you to the news publication’s website, adding additional time as that site loads and — more importantly for Facebook — taking users away from the social network. With Instant Articles, all the content would load more or less immediately, keeping users engaged on Facebook’s site.

However, the benefit for publishers would be more money from ads, said the Wall Street Journal. With one flavour of Instant Articles that’s currently under consideration, publishers would keep all the revenue from ads they sold. If Facebook sold the ads however, then it would keep 30% of the revenue.

And earlier in the week, Facebook started testing out a new feature that allows users to prioritise updates from specific friends. That, along with Instant Articles, may encourage people to spend more time on Facebook.

SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal.

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