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Instant Articles appear to have abandoned the format

MORE THAN HALF OF FACEBOOK’S launch partners on Instant Articles appear to have abandoned the format, new Tow Center research suggests.

When launching Instant Articles in May 2015, Facebook presented its new initiative as a commitment to helping publishers monetize journalism distributed via its platform.

Instant Articles, it was claimed, would solve the problem of sluggish mobile websites. While publishers would have to host their articles on Facebook’s servers and post natively to the platform, they would supposedly reap rewards—in terms of scale, engagement, and revenue—from being able to serve mobile content that loaded at lightning speeds via Facebook’s app.

The New York Times, an initial partner, reported that Facebook went “to unusual lengths to court the publishers participating in the project.” Viewed in the wake of the recent, seismic algorithm change, this publisher-friendly approach feels like a relic from a bygone age.

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