Subscriptions options have been added to Facebook‘s Instant Articles, with the Menlo Park, California-based company now providing its audience with the ability to subscribe to news publications through its online platform. The feature itself works just like expected, serving as an automated counter of a number of articles the user has read from a certain publication on any given week, then preventing them from reading any more once they reach their weekly limit unless they subscribe to the media outlet whose content they’re trying to access. Instant Articles previously didn’t support the functionality, essentially being a legitimate tool for circumventing the weekly limit various publications impose on people who aren’t their paying readers, which was the subject of numerous criticism that the media industry directed at Facebook in the past.
The social media giant apparently gave in to those demands from media outlets and has now not only added the subscription option to Instant Articles but has even agreed to not take a cut of any profits generated by the subscriptions that its platform facilitated. In practice, readers interested in subscribing to a news publication through Facebook will simply be redirected to the subscription page of that publication and won’t have to use their Facebook account in the process of paying for access to exclusive content. The move marks a significant strategy shift on the social media company’s part seeing how Facebook has been promoting Instant Articles as a free news service for more than two years now. The firm was reportedly considering implementing support for the subscription-based business model for the last several months and was ultimately convinced by its media partners to do so. It’s currently unclear whether the move will significantly affect the commercial performance of Instant Articles, especially as media publications often criticized the platform for not being efficient enough in terms of monetization.
Facebook’s Head of News Partnerships Campbell Brown said that the introduction of Instant Articles subscriptions is the latest step in the company’s efforts to support “quality journalism” and allow it to grow on its online platform, implying how the social media giant may debut similar initiatives in the future.