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Facebook pays up to stop users waiting for content to load

May 13, 2015

Facebook Inc (fb) has tied up with nine news publishers to launch "Instant Articles", letting them publish articles directly to the social network's mobile news feeds.

Instant Articles will let stories load more than 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles and will include content from publishers such as the New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic, Facebook said in a blog post on its website.

Facebook's initiative is going live at a time when it and rival Google Inc. (goog) are facing concerted efforts by struggling publishers in Europe and elsewhere to extract more revenue from the vast amount of their material that is currently viewed on their platforms for free.

Google last month said it would revamp its Google News service in response to such pressures, and set up a €150 million ($163 million) fund aimed at helping publishers maximize revenue from digital platforms.

“Fundamentally, this is a tool that enables publishers to provide a better experience for their readers on Facebook” said Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox. “Instant Articles lets them deliver fast, interactive articles while maintaining control of their content and business models.”

The news publishers can either sell and embed advertisements in the articles and keep all of the revenue, or allow Facebook to sell ads, in which case they would get 70% of the revenue.

The Internet social networking company will also let the news companies track data and traffic through comScore and other analytics tools.

The other launch partners for Instant Articles are Comcast's (cmcsa) NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, and Germany's Der Spiegel and Bild-Zeitung, the popular tabloid published by Axel Springer Verlag (axelf), Facebook said.

(Reuters contributed to this report)

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