The Future of Internet News is Here

Facebook unveiled Instant Articles yesterday, its much talked about direct-to-Facebook publishing deal. The service allows publishers to create “fast and interactive articles on Facebook”. From what I’ve seen, Articles allows for the next generation in storytelling, with highly interactive features and a beautiful layout. This may be the future of quality news on the Internet (and I couldn’t be more excited).

Photo courtesy of facebook

Photo courtesy of facebook

It’s no secret that more people than ever turn to their phones to get the news. Facebook knew that sharing of that content was taking quite a while to load – an average of eight seconds, and, “by far the slowest single content type on Facebook”. The sites that people were clicking through via those shared links were also clunky. The goal for the Facebook consumer was to allow users to share their news more easily, particularly via their mobile app.

The New York TimesThe Atlanticthe Guardian, and NBC News are working with Facebook to launch Instant Articles. National GeographicBuzzFeed and German News outlet Bild are also on board. Instant Articles offers four big points to the publisher. First, with its plethora of interactive features, the platform provides a better experience to Facebook users. This will hopefully translate into more readers. Second, they give the publishers control over their content. Next, and probably the most important to the outlets, they maintain monetization opportunities through their own ads, or choose to implement Facebook’s Audience Network. They can also track traffic data through analytic tools.

See a video and complete details on Instant Articles

Facebook also hopes that publishers and consumers will be drawn to Instant Articles by its interactive attributes. Some of the apps features include such as zooming in of high-resolution photos and examining the photo by tilting the phone left and right, seamless video autoplay, utilization of interactive maps, audio caption playback and watch GIFs while reading a story.

If you’re like me and have a thirst for quality stories from credible outlets, and interested in getting it easily, Instant Articles may be the answer. The platform launched on Facebook for iPhone with a special set of stories published by The New York Times, BuzzFeed, National Geographic, NBC and The Atlantic. 

What Facebook's Updated Terms Means to You

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Facebook introduced its Privacy Basics to help users set up their privacy in late 2014. They set up the Privacy Basics landing page to help you more easily determine your privacy settings across all of your devices (phones, tablets, tablets, etc.). Facebook also updated:

All of these changes took place on January 30, 2015.

Marketing and Communication professionals should also take a look at the terms for any Facebook Pages you might run. You'll need to know everything on the Promotions Guidelines, which apply if you offer contests, sweepstakes, and other types of promotions on Facebook. (This is important as Facebook will happily close down your contest / promotion if you don't adhere to their guidelines.) Take the time to read these documents, no matter how dry they may seem, so you understand what information is used and how Facebook uses it. 


Your personal information and posted content

Facebook addresses intellectual property rights. There has been a lot of concern about intellectual property rights on social networking platforms. Facebook addresses this with its new rules with its standard language.

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings….You grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
— Sharing Your Content and Information, #2, TOS

Facebook shares personal user information with its advertisers. They are very clear when they say, “Our goal is to deliver advertising and other commercial or sponsored content that is valuable to our users and advertisers.” They also are clear they will use your name, profile picture, content, and information in ads. This is why when you search for particular items, Facebook immediately shows relevant posts and ads. Right now it is used as social proof, as in showing the names of your friends who LIKE a certain page, etc.

You give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it.
— About Advertisements and Other Commercial Content Served or Enhanced by Facebook, #9, TOS

What you can't do on Facebook

Facebook then addresses what you CANNOT do on its site. In addition to the expected prohibitions for illegal activities, here were some of the prohibitions that I've seen some marketers violate. You should read the TOS to learn all the rules but here's a few items from the Safety section:

  • You will not post unauthorized commercial communications (such as spam) on Facebook.
  • You will not engage in unlawful multi-level marketing, such as a pyramid scheme, on Facebook.
  • You will not develop or operate a third-party application containing alcohol-related, dating or other mature content (including advertisements) without appropriate age-based restrictions. 

You cannot have multiple accounts and Facebook will make sure of it. In addition, they've updated the Registration and Account Security section. You can’t have multiple accounts (one for personal and one for business), you can’t make your personal account your business name (you'll need to get a page), and if you use a company trademark that doesn’t belong to you, Facebook reserves the right to take it away from you and give it to the trademark holder. Also, you can’t transfer your page without permission, which means that you can't technically "sell" a popular page.

You will not create more than one personal account...If we disable your account, you will not create another one without our permission...You will not use your personal timeline primarily for your own commercial gain, and will use a Facebook Page for such purposes...If you select a username or similar identifier for your account or Page, we reserve the right to remove or reclaim it if we believe it is appropriate (such as when a trademark owner complains about a username that does not closely relate to a user’s actual name)...You will not transfer your account (including any Page or application you administer) to anyone without first getting our written permission.
— Registration and Account Security, #4, TOS

What are your thoughts on this? Have you run into security issues with Facebook? Ever been shut down?