The Washington Post has become the first major publication to fully accept Facebook's Instant Articles as a viable platform for publishing its stories — signaling what may become a trend in journalism, with news outlets reaching out to audiences through the social network over their own platforms.
In a blog post announcing its plans, The Washington Post says it will publish all of its articles on Facebook every day. That amounts to approximately 1,200 stories each day, including wire stories. By contrast, The New York Times – one of the first publications that signed up for Instant Articles four months ago – says it publishes 30 articles on Facebook every day.
"We want to reach current and future readers on all platforms, and we aren't holding anything back," said Fred Ryan, publisher at the Post. "Launching Instant Articles on Facebook enables to give this extremely large audience a faster, more seamless news reading experience."
Ryan added that the publication has seen rapid growth in readership over the past year, and much of this audience is composed of millennials who like to use their mobile phones. He explained that by partnering with Facebook, the Post will have more chances of reaching out to its new audience.
At the same time, Facebook has announced a new batch of major publications signing up for Instant Articles. These include The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Mashable, Daily Mail, CBS Interactive and MTV, among others.
Facebook shook up newsrooms this year when it announced Instant Articles, a new service that allows publications to publish their stories directly on Facebook. Instead of having users follow a link outside of Facebook to read a story, Instant Articles would show the story directly in their News Feed, which increases Facebook's engagement and its ability to earn more from advertising.
To attract publications, the social network offers faster loading times and a lucrative share of the advertising revenue. However, some media outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal, are not entirely convinced, because the partnership entails that it hand over important subscriber information to Facebook that the Journal does not want to share.
Instant Articles is not the only publishing platform of its kind. Apple recently unveiled Apple News, which is another one of the Post's partners. Google and Twitter are also working on their own service that will rival Facebook's platform.