Facebook may have already launched bots on Messenger recently, but that doesn’t mean it’s done improving Messenger for the year. In fact, Messenger will now support Instant Articles, straight from the Messenger app.
The move certainly makes sense. When bots were first supported in Messenger, publishers like CNN were among the first to build bots to deliver articles to users through the platform. Once a user tapped on an article, however, they were brought to their web browser. Now, once an article is tapped on, the article will show up within Messenger the same way it does in the normal Facebook app.
You’ll be able to tell that an article is an Instant Article because it will have the little lightning bolt icon next to the link, the same as Instant Articles in the Facebook app. Instant Articles in Messenger will first appear in Messenger for Android, however they will be coming to iOS next week.
According to Facebook, Instant Articles load a hefty 10 times faster than traditional links to articles on the web. That’s because they’re actually hosted on Facebook servers and displayed within Facebook, meaning there’s almost nothing to download.
Of course, the very concept of Instant Articles is a little controversial. When a user clicks through to a publisher’s website, they can be advertised to — that’s how publishers make money. By keeping a user on Facebook longer, Facebook has more time to advertise to users.
Meanwhile, the publishers who use Instant Articles get a cut of the advertising money made from their articles being on Facebook — it’s just not yet really known if that deal will allow publishers to make the same or more money than they do from their own original websites. Now that Instant Articles are in Messenger, their popularity is only set to grow, especially considering the fact that Messenger has a hefty 900 million users.