Facebook has launched a new feature in its official iOS client called “Instant Articles,” the company announced today. The feature will allow web publishers to create versions of their stories optimized for display inside the Facebook app. As suggested by the name, these optimized articles are designed to load instantly and provide a more native-feeling experience.
The articles are built using some of the same user interface elements and concepts first introduced in the alternative Facebook client, Paper, such as large images that scroll as you tilt your phone, and in-line videos that automatically start playing.
New elements added specifically for Instant Articles include audio captions on photos and the ability to like or comment on specific sections of the article rather than the entire thing. Facebook says publishers will still have full control over content and monetization, and loading a story as an Instant Article will still count the same as clicking a link in the browser in terms of traffic tracking.
Only a handful of publishers will be able to take advantage of Instant Articles at launch, including NBC, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, and National Geographic. Only a select few articles from those publishers will be available in this format for now.
Instant Articles is rolling out in the Facebook for iPhone application now.