Facebook today announced that Instant Articles will no longer be limited to the main Facebook app. Facebook Messenger for Android now lets you view Instant Articles directly in the app, and Messenger for iPhone will be getting the same treatment “in the coming weeks.” You can download the latest versions of each here: Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
As the name implies, Instant Articles are quick-loading versions of articles that Facebook users can view directly in the social network’s app. The company opened up the feature, which competes directly with Google’s AMP, to all publishers in April.
The Messenger experience works just like you would expect: a lightning bolt on the top right corner of links shared in Messenger indicates the link is an Instant Article. Opening it should be “lightning fast,” just like in the main Facebook app.
As of April 2016, Facebook Messenger has 900 million users. It’s really a no-brainer for Facebook to have Instant Articles work in Messenger as well — after all, this is a mobile-focused feature, and hundreds of millions of people already share article links via the mobile app.
Here is how Facebook describes the existing experience:
Currently, links shared via Messenger load in a mobile browser, which can be a slow experience, especially in places where low connectivity is an issue. Now people can have the same fast, interactive experience reading Instant Articles in Messenger that they have in the Facebook app, and publishers can tell beautiful stories and reach their audiences through both Facebook and Messenger.
Back in January, we noted Facebook had passed a significant milestone: Over half its users access the service only on mobile. Instant Articles are just one of the many ways the company is trying to improve the mobile experience that users associate with its service. As long as Instant Articles keep publishers happy, users will be able to reap the benefits.