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Publishing Instant Articles from your CMS

September 22, 2015ByTR Vishwanath

Instant Articles are a fast and interactive experience for reading articles in News Feed. Powered by the same technology that loads photos and videos quickly in our mobile apps, Instant Articles display as much as ten times faster than standard mobile web articles and feature tilt-to-pan photos, auto-play video, interactive maps, and embedded audio captions that let you explore stories in beautiful new ways.

Beyond creating a great experience for readers, we designed Instant Articles to make it as easy as possible for publishers to use with their existing Content Management Systems (CMS). There are no new tools to learn, and publishers can easily publish their full catalog of articles each day.

Today we'd like to share more about the system for publishing Instant Articles, which is based on the open standards that power the web, and introduce documentation for publishers and tool providers.

Publish directly from your Content Management System

We heard clearly from publishers that they want a single tool to publish articles to the web, mobile apps, or any other places readers see their content. That's why Instant Articles supports publishing directly from a publisher's Content Management System — there's no need to author articles in a new location.

When publishers get started with Instant Articles, they provide an RSS feed of their articles to Facebook, a format that most Content Management Systems already support. Once this RSS feed is set up, Instant Articles automatically loads new stories as soon as they are published to the publisher's website and apps. Updates and corrections are also automatically captured via the RSS feed so that breaking news remains up to date.

Instant Articles are created with HTML5

HTML5 provides an expressive format for specifying all the necessary information to lay out an Instant Article, and it allows publishers to reuse the code from their websites. This format also provides support for third-party content, including social media embeds, ads, and analytics — all of which can be embedded in Instant Articles just like they are on the web.

As an example, let's take a look at the way that a publisher includes a video in an Instant Article, using web standards:

<source src="" type="video/mp4" />
This is a video markup example

Instant Articles isn’t just about delivering a fast experience — it also extends the possibilities for interactive articles on mobile phones with new features like autoplay video, audio captions, and interactive maps using simple HTML5 tags. For example, this is the markup for including a photo with an auto-play audio caption, plus optional customization of the photo caption location, photo margins, and Facebook Like and Comment buttons:

<figure data-feedback="fb:likes,fb:comments">
<img src="" class="no-margin" />
<figcaption class="op-left op-large">
<h1>This is an image markup example</h1>
<cite>Photo by Jane Photographer</cite>
<audio autoplay>
<source src="">

We are excited to see how the community will utilize this new functionality and, because it is defined in an open format, we hope that these features will also be implemented in publisher websites, apps, and other platforms in the future. Moving forward, we will continue to work closely with our publisher partners to identify the best tools and open standards to make it easy for them to publish to Instant Articles.

Sharing is seamless on any platform

Each Instant Article is associated with the URL where the web version is hosted on the publisher's website. This means that Instant Articles are open and compatible with all of the ways that people share links around the web today:

  • When a friend or page you follow shares a link in your News Feed, we check to see if there is an Instant Article associated with that URL. If so, you will see it as an Instant Article. If not, it will open on the web browser.
  • When you share an Instant Article on Facebook or using email, SMS, or Twitter, you are sharing the link to the publisher website so anyone can open the article no matter what platform they use.

Associating each Instant Article with a URL makes it easy for publishers to adopt Instant Articles without changing their publishing workflows and means that people can read and share articles without thinking about the platform or technology behind the scenes.

Expanding to more people and publishers

We have been testing Instant Articles for the past few months with a small percentage of people on Facebook who see new articles published each day from our launch publishers. This early testing phase allows us to get feedback from people and publishers before extending the program more broadly. Over the coming months we will be expanding the number of people in the Facebook app on iPhone who can see Instant Articles.

We are also announcing today that over a dozen additional partners are joining the program soon. We will bring additional publishers onboard in the coming months, and we look forward to extending the Instant Articles program in the future so that any content publisher or blog can create great article experiences on Facebook.

Learn more about Instant Articles here

To find out more about the process for publishing Instant Articles and the RSS and HTML5 markup, take a look at our Instant Articles Documentation.

Want to become an Instant Articles publisher? Fill out our contact form.