Facebook is Adding Google AMP Functionality to Instant Articles

Remember Instant Articles? With other recent developments taken into account, Facebook's push to create a neat, tidy journalistic sub-platform seems like a distant memory, but they still have faith in it. One of the biggest issues Instant Articles has faced is that both Google AMP and Apple News get vastly superior exposure. In the former case, this is thanks to Google's prevalence as a search engine and in the latter, Apple's ability to govern which news sources appear first on iOS formats.

Facebook have decided to deal with this by making Instant Articles compatible with both of these competitors. Essentially, if you put content on Instant Articles, Facebook's SDK will automatically reformat the style so that it can be shared on Google AMP and Apple News instantly. Once you've done this once, it will work in the same way every time.

It's an interesting move, since on the one hand it demonstrates Facebook's awareness that they're losing this particular fight, but on the other, they're actually moving to undermine the success of Google and Apple by making Instant Articles the most malleable style editor available. If publishers are only using Google AMP and Apple News as an extension of Instant Articles, Facebook win.

The biggest issue Instant Articles has faced in trying to compete with Apple and Google is that its appeal has come at odds with the way Facebook itself has been developing. Post boosting has been lambasted as a con, video content has superseded written content and the structure of their trending algorithms has changed like the seasons. For these reasons, many publishers have opted to abandon Instant Articles entirely.

Facebook are hoping that this metamorphosis will bring publishers back and allow them to claw back some territory in the fierce battle for content control. In reality, it will probably only allow Instant Articles to hobble on, still living but unable to overtake either of its gargantuan rivals. If Facebook ever hope to really stand against other platforms in written content dominance, they'll have to reconsider their obsession with video.

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