Facebook debuts fast-loading 'Instant Articles' exclusively on iPhone app

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Facebook on Wednesday launched "Instant Articles," a mobile-oriented platform through which publishers can have their stories hosted on Facebook servers and theoretically load as much as 10 times faster than a standard Web link.

Each article can also have enhanced elements such as interactive maps, audio captions, auto-playing videos, and motion-controlled photo browsing. In some cases, readers will be able to like or comment on individual sections of a story.

To attract publishers, Facebook is allowing them to sell ads in the articles and keep all revenue, as usual, or turn to Facebook's Audience Network if they have any unsold space. Publishers are also being given the ability to track metrics using services such as comScore, or in some cases their own internal tools.

The initial stable of publishers includes the New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Der Spiegel, and Bild.

Instant Articles are currently accessible only to users of the Facebook iPhone app. The company didn't say when they might come to other mobile platforms, such as Android or Windows 10.