|With Instant Articles, Facebook Launches a Media Company
By: Mike Bush
For a few months, there’s been an image circulating on LinkedIn (if you’ve been on the site lately, you’ve probably seen some iteration of it). It says:
Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.
(In case you’re wondering, the quote is from a TechCrunch guest post.)
Over the past couple days, the second bullet, the one about Facebook being a media owner, became astoundingly truer. Facebook launched Instant Articles, a tool that allows publishers to publish on Facebook. It’s got some neat bells and whistles, like responsive design and fast load times.
However, Facebook has a bit of a reputational concern when it comes to the ways they treat publishers, and while there are big names on board with the announcement now (NY Times and Buzzfeed most assuredly qualify as big names), the question becomes one of how the next tier of publisher will be treated.
Will Instant Articles allow Mark Zuckerberg and Co. to become our curators of content? Will we end up in a place where “the Web consists of little more than a handful of major players, and where anything outside their walls withers and dies”? (H/T ReadWrite, who had a spot-on take on Instant Articles). From a PR perspective, will flacks soon be able to upload to Instant Articles? If the NY Times runs an Instant Article quoting a client, are we happier it’s on Facebook, or will clients scoff at this? What does native advertising look like in this medium?
Finally, as ReadWrite (and someone else) said, will this end up being another portal service like the AOL of old?
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc.
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