Four months after it first unveiled its native news article product, starting with nine partner publishers, Facebook told Re/Code on Tuesday that the Washington Post has come onboard. As part of the deal, the newspaper will publish all of its stories — more than 1,200 per day — via Instant Articles.
Facebook, which has long aspired to command as much of people’s time and attention as possible, built Instant Articles in an attempt to create a new way for its users to read the news, and for publishers to make extra money. Facebook says its original publishers, which include the New York Times and BuzzFeed, have published “hundreds” of articles per day, though it didn’t impose any quantity requirements on them.
Facebook’s main sell to users and publishers is that it’s built superior technology with faster load time — a huge deterrent for readers who often close an article if it takes too long to load. In turn, that should translate to more engagement and monetization for publishers, according to Facebook. With that said, the company has yet to release any figures, so it’s hard to say whether its product has yielded superior engagement or any significant revenue for publishers.
Instant Articles, of course, has competitors in the native news space, including Snapchat’s Discover service, and Apple’s new News app.
In addition to the Washington Post, Vox, Mic, Mashable, Time Inc., Bleacher Report, the Huffington Post, and Business Insider, among others, also joined the program on Tuesday.