Facebook isn’t shy about its plans to court media companies in order to bring more news and Live Video content to its service. One of its features aimed at publishers is Instant Articles: Fast-loading mobile pages that can be viewed within Facebook.
On Wednesday, the company announced its latest initiative to help expand upon the publishing tool. Facebook is currently testing a new feature that allows select media outlets to combine multiple Instant Articles into one post. Viewers with the latest version of its iOS and Android apps to will be able to access the posts from the News Feed and publisher’s pages, which they can then scroll through and read.
The update is reminiscent of the curation features offered by Twitter (Moments) and Snapchat (Discover). Like the former, publishers must select multiple items to bundle together in one package with a cover image or video.
Last month, it was revealed that Facebook was reportedly planning a Snapchat Discover clone. However, Snap’s tool — consisting of a series of channels devoted to various media partners that produce daily multimedia content dubbed “episodes” — has its own section within the visual messaging app. Then again, there’s nothing stopping Facebook from expanding upon Instant Articles in the same vein. After all, publishers already have the ability to add visual content to their mobile pages (including 360 photos and video).
It will be interesting to see whether a Discover-style version of Instant Articles does materialize, and whether Facebook decides to keep it on its flagship platform or make it exclusive to Messenger — which is increasingly starting to resemble Snapchat.
For now, all Facebook has revealed is that the ability to share multiple articles in one post is currently being tested with a number of global media partners. Facebook users can expect to see the feature being adopted by Bild, BuzzFeed, El Pais, Fox News, Hindustan Times, India Times, Refinery29, The Sun, USA Today, and The Washington Post. Whether or not Facebook decides to make the update available to its wider community (as Twitter did with Moments) remains to be seen.
“As we better understand the value this experience provides people and publishers, we look forward to working with more of our partners to help shape the future direction of this experience,” the company wrote in its blog post.
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