As more publishers apply for Facebook’s Instant Articles program, I find that increasingly, I am avoiding those articles and their purported benefits, instead visiting the original publication’s site for the content.
In particular, I find the experience of sharing an Instant Article to be one of the most-frustrating and off-putting aspects of their efforts, but then agin, that’s what Facebook was hoping for. Extending their desire to confine users to their platform, furthering their closed-source business practices, Facebook created a custom, crippled sharing menu instead of leveraging what the device provides.
If Facebook had simply provided a way to trigger the device’s sharing sheet, the arrangement might be tenable. But as it stands, even with the addition of “Save Link” and “Open in browser” choices, the Instant Articles sharing choices don’t comport with how I consume, save, and share that content. As a result, for every Instant Article I read, I’m forced to use the “Copy Link” option, then open each application I meant to share the item to and complete some other process, before ultimately returning to the Facebook app. While Facebook Instant Articles might speed up the casual reader’s experience, they’ve had the opposite effect on sharing, and therefore on social discovery.