There was optimism, too. Facebook’s daily aggregation of eyeballs is the largest in human history, and publishers were eager for the chance to capture more of them. It seemed possible that a superior reading experience could benefit readers, publishers, and Facebook at the same time. “In the long run,” wrote Will Oremus at Slate, some might find they’re better off outsourcing their distribution and ad sales to well-funded tech giants and refocusing on what they do best: reporting the news.”
But two years after it launched, a platform that aspired to build a more stable path forward for journalism appears to be declining in relevance. At the same time that Instant Articles were being designed, Facebook was beginning work on the projects that would ultimately undermine it. Starting in 2015, the company’s algorithms began favoring video over other content types, diminishing the reach of Instant Articles in the feed.