Facebook's experiment to publish news articles has gotten awfully quiet - three weeks after everyone was freaking out about it
Called "Facebook Instant Articles," the new format loads stories on mobile phones up to ten times faster than if readers click a link and head over to a publisher's website.
The media industry threw a tizzy around the launch. Much of the conversation focused on whether it came as a blessing or curse to online news.With Facebook giving publishers 100% of revenue from ads appearing inside articles - and taking 30% of revenue for the ads it sells against them - optimists in the media business saw it as one more way to increase readers and revenue.
Critics saw it as a dangerous concession that being a destination site for readers isn't important and worried that Facebook would change its revenue split model to the detriment of publishers.
At launch, Facebook partnered with nine publishers, including BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and National Geographic.
But for all the initial panic and industry buzz, the actual launch has been much slower and less dramatic than anyone expected.
Facebook posts links to all the Instant Articles here. BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, National Geographic, NBC, and The New York Times have shared Instant Articles stories (one each) so far, but The Guardian, BBC, Spiegel Online, and Bild have not.
No new stories have been published since launch.
From the beginning, Facebook didn't give a concrete timeline for its Instant Articles roll-out plans, but said it wanted to use feedback from the first publishers to make improvements and updates to its format and guidelines.
When publishers signed on, they did so as an "experiment," with no commitment to run a specific number of articles or to keep the partnership going.
Ultimately, Facebook wants to bring on new partners in the following months.
Clearly, "slow" and "gradual" are the names of the game here.