MENLO PARK (CBS SF) — Already a vital distributor of news content, the social media website Facebook just got more powerful with the launch of Instant Article Wednesday.
Facebook is partnering with the National Geographic, The New York Times and six other media companies to host their news content directly on people’s news feeds.READ MORE: Atmospheric River: Parts of San Mateo County Pummeled with Heavy Rain, Flooding
The articles will reportedly load up to 10 times faster since readers would stay on Facebook instead of following a link to another site.
The Instant Article format also offers publishers a unique way to showcase their work, with interactive content like maps, high-resolution photos and audio.
This shift, which was rumored to happen months earlier, made many in the media publishing industry anxious over the fear that Facebook would draw readers away from their own sites, eventually reducing traffic and advertising revenue.READ MORE: UPDATE: Atmospheric River Drenches Northern California With Historic Rainfall
But Facebook says news publishers will be able to sell and embed advertisements in the articles, keeping all the revenue, or allow Facebook to sell ads and keep 30 percent of all the proceeds.
Facebook will also permit publishers to collect data about the people reading the articles with the same tools they use to track visitors to their own sites.
With over $1.4 billion active users worldwide, Facebook draws in more mobile users and prompts more visits to news sites than any other outside service.
According a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, half of Internet users in the U.S. said they got their news about government and politics on Facebook during the course of the week — about the same from local television.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Streets Flood in San Rafael, Mill Valley as Wild Storm Lashes Bay Area
BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Bild and Spiegel Online are also part of the new partnership that will begin with just a few articles, but is expected to expand quickly.