Facebook Moves to Block Fake News

New Facebook Update Expected July 17 will Affect Your Ability to Edit Posts–But is that the Right Answer?

Fake News keyboard

In late June, Facebook announced they were taking steps to make if more difficult to edit what readers see in the “preview windows”. In reality, this ‘preview’ is all that many people actually do see.

And there is the underlying problem. Many, if not most professional “publishers”–the loose term given to anyone who posts content on the internet–make changes to the headlines and descriptions.

Why do we do this? Because we want people to click on our post. We want people to be so moved by what they see, they click it and “read all about it”–on our site, rather than the competitions.

Some publishers are really good at writing compelling copy that results in lots of people looking at their websites.

NASA runs a child-slave colony on Mars!

 

Photos taken by a Chinese orbiter reveal an alien settlement on the moon!

 

Shape-shifting reptilian extraterrestrials that can control human minds are running the U.S. government!

The above are some of the headlines that have been purported as truth in the media. (Thanks to Scientific American for these.)

So what is the problem with allowing people to edit the headlines and description?

Most people just want you to click on their site, but are not intending to pass off false information. There are more nefarious types out there though whose main goal is to make you believe things that are just not true.

Fake News cartoon by Frederick Burr Opper

This isn’t anything new. As the image above shows, Fake News has been an issue for a lot longer than Facebook or the Internet. The image is a portion of an illustration of reporters with “fake news” dating to 1894 by Frederick Burr Opper

There are more examples of fake news being propagate in history in this article by Scientific American.

Now, it may be that the headline and description are merely provocative, and if you were to read the actual post it would not be ‘fake news.’ The problem is that, as we mentioned earlier, most readers don’t bother to click and read more. They actually believe the headlines and descriptions, and share that information as if it were the wisdom of the ages.

After all, if we read it online if must be true. Right? Not right? Really?

Our goal is to support publisher workflows and app functionality, while limiting malicious misrepresentations of underlying link content. As content customization evolves we continue to work closely with our partners to support the best tools for sharing links on Facebook.

Even though Facebook is attempting to clean up the information stream that they control, it is still smart to question anything that you see online. Even if it is “everywhere”–probably even more so if it is everywhere!

Facebook of course is not the only entity facing this issue. Most of the social media outlets are looking at their policies, and trying to determine how much policing they should, or want to do.

Fake News is News Worthy!

PolitiFact is actually covering Fake News as a newsworthy topic!

There’s an interesting discussion happening now about the spread of fake news on the Internet and what companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter, among others, should do to stop it. That’s a healthy conversation to have, and one we hope continues in the weeks and months ahead. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something now. Here at PolitiFact, we’re beefing up our coverage of fake news to help our readers better sort out fact from fiction on their social media feeds. The claims can be about anything — politics, entertainment, a fishy-sounding medical cure.

There is no 100% fool proof way to verify that what you are reading is the truth. Reading the real article and not the “cliff notes” version is a good start. Be willing to read and engage your brain. Rather than having a knee jerk reaction and sharing everything you see, pause, take a deep breath.

Let us take a little bit of responsibility for what we believe. Maybe we’re being unkind. Scientific American in their article, How Fake News Goes Viral says that maybe we’re aren’t just super gullible. It could be that we are just overwhelmed with information.

“If you live in a world where you are bombarded with junk—even if you’re good at discriminating—you’re only seeing a portion of what’s out there, so you still may share misinformation,” explains computer scientist Filippo Menczer of Indiana University Bloomington

But, even SA admits that the solution may rest on the shoulders of the readers. At least, that is what they said in February: The Ultimate Cure for the Fake News Epidemic Will Be More Skeptical Readers. Despite computer algorithms, we have to be more discerning.

Is it true is it kind is it necessary

And in the words of the poet Mary Ann Pietzker, ask yourself, “Is it True? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?

In an example of the internet getting it wrong, this quote has been claimed, with some slight variations, to be the words of Buddha, of Sai Baba, and an ancient Arabian Proverb. No doubt there are others who have claimed the words, or attributed them to someone else entirely!


Thanks to Facebook, Scientific American, and PolitiFact for providing us with just the facts, ma’am.

Image of the special Fake News keyboard credited to Credit: Peter Dazeley Getty Images and appears on Scientific American, from their article “How Fake News Goes Viral—Here’s the Math”

Read more about Fake News on Scientific American:

Windows Ransomware Attack Underway

Patch Available for Ransomware Attack

microsoft icon

You are going to want to cry–unless you make sure you are protected

WannaCry Ransomware

Wordfence security software has announced they have confirmed a serious virus called  WannaCrypt0r/WannaCry has affected Windows computers. Reputed to affect computers on shared networks, the virus has been reported in at least 74 countries worldwide.

According to Kaspersky Lab there have been more than 57,000 individual instances reported to date. And that number is growing rapidly.

Once one computer on a network is affected, the malware infection easily spreads to other Windows computers on the same network, shutting down entire government agencies and national infrastructure companies. Hospitals across the UK were being forced to divert patients and ambulance routes as of Friday afternoon, and several utility companies across Europe reported infection across their computer networks according to BBC News.

This virus is of the type known as ransomware.

Why ransomware? Because it will take over your computer, completely locking it down. You can’t access anything. Then a pop-up screen appears, announcing that you can liberate your device by paying them for a special tool or decryption device.

Is Your Windows Computer Safe from this Ransomware Attack or Infected?

Clearly, if you see the ransom notice on your computer, then you have been compromised.

However, experts don’t yet know how long the virus may be resident on your computer BEFORE it actually takes over and locks up your system.

Have you accessed a public network with your computer? If you took your laptop to a cafe, used it at another place of business, for example, they you may have received the infection.

microsoft building ransomware attack response

The Good News

Microsoft has been aware of this vulnerability and released a fix back on March 14th for Windows. If you have automatic updates enabled, you should be fine.

If you don’t have updates automatically, be sure to check to see that you have the latest release.

Click to read more about Microsoft’s take on ransomware attacks.

There are older versions of Windows, (XP, for example) that are no longer supported by Microsoft. These did not receive the security update–although there are reports that Microsoft is changing that policy and may issue, or may have already issued a patch for these users as well.


This report is courtesy of our friends at Wordfence.com, to read more about this specific attack, please read their May 12, 2017 blog post.

Kaspersky Lab is a  multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider headquartered in Moscow, Russia and operated by a holding company in the United Kingdom.

Learn more about internet security and keeping your online business safe.

Don’t Read Terms, Just Agree

Terms of Service Resulting in Spam is Quick Way to Get Your Site in Trouble

stack of dictionaries

Yes, we know they are long. Yes, it can be as exciting to read as reading the dictionary.

Yes, most of the time they are pretty standard. But what about when they aren’t?

We’re talking about Terms and Conditions or Terms of Service. You know, those things you have to click “I agree” to before proceeding–on just about everything on the internet these days.

It is easy to get lazy. Especially when you have read a bunch of them and they all seem to be the same. Pretty much verbatim the same, in fact.

But there are people who, whether intentionally or not, will provide you with a ‘service’ that can actually harm your website. Sometimes you won’t even know it. But Google and other search engine bots might. They might actually interpret it as spam or something else that is against their policies–and that is a big problem.

And that’s where the problem begins.

Case in point is the 404 to 301 Plugin, but it isn’t the only one. And to their credit, the authors of this plugin have theoretically already fixed the issue that was causing the main problem with Google.

So, read the terms of service or terms & conditions. If you don’t understand what it means or the implications, then wait before you install. Talk to someone you trust who can advise you.

Mistakes can happen, even when you are careful. So monitor your website’s health. Keep backups in case you need to “roll back” your site to an earlier date. Consider a security software.

This isn’t meant to scare you, just alert and educate. You can’t be expected to know everything about your business and the internet, too. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a website. It just means sometimes we have to get help from someone else.

After all, just because I can watch a YouTube video on how to fix my car, paint my house, or trim the trees in my backyard, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a good idea. I might save myself some money–or I might make more money by focusing on my business and paying someone else to take care of these things.

Neither way is inherently right or wrong. Just be smart about it. Do you enjoy learning new things–go for it. But if you are frustrated or overwhelmed, or not having the success in your business that you want, and deserve, then focus on that.

Read the blog post by WordFence security for more info.

Not on Angie’s List? Why Now May be the Time to Reconsider

How Angie’s List’s New Free Membership Could Impact Your Business

Read about Angie’s List decision to offer a new free membership and how it can help local business SEO…

Angie's List Business Owners page

Perhaps you have heard about Angie’s List and were not sure if it had much of an impact on your local business.

As a local business owner, you should know that many customers and potential customers have found the List to be a great place to read, and place, reviews on local businesses.

Like many review sites, a reviewer must join Angie’s List in order to place a review. Not only that, they have to be a member in order to read other reviews.

For many, both consumers and businesses, this was a small stumbling block.

While many people have joined, others have balked because there was a membership fee. Some found the fee to be worthwhile and others decided they would rather use one of the free review sites.

Since the fee did deter some people from using the site, you might have decide that Angie’s List was not that relevant to your business, so you didn’t bother to even claim your profile. (Yes, you might have a profile–and some reviews–there and not even know it, in this case!)

You could be on Angie’s List already and not even know it.

Angie’s List is a community where members and local providers can connect. Your profile is your first impression to members, so make it count! Build a robust profile that includes a business description, operating hours, areas of specialty, responsiveness, reviews and more. Members consider this information before deciding who contact.

After you interact with members, they submit reviews on their experiences. Reviews are given in the form of a letter grade, and are a great way to gain insights about how customers and patients view your services.

Angie’s List reviews are:

      • Never anonymous

      • Verified by BPA Worldwide’s certification process

      • Submitted online, through mail or over the phone

      • Easily accessible to read and respond

Well, hang on to your seats…because Angie’s List’s new CEO has decided to offer a free “green” membership.

This is great news for your local business because now even more people will be able to see your profile page and all your positive reviews–without having to pay ‘for admission.’

Angie's list graphic

We have long encouraged our clients to claim their profile on AL if their business was in one of the appropriate categories. Now, they have not only providing a free membership, they have also expanded the list of business categories, from Air Duct Cleaning to Welding!

Angie's List Categories

One of the benefits of claiming your business profile is that you can manage your reviews. Keeping on top of both positive and negative reviews is essential for your business.

On review sites, whether Google, Yelp, Brownbook, Angie’s List or others you want to be sure you are responding promptly to negative reviews. Your prompt response gives you the opportunity to rectify any situations that need to be fixed–and let the customer (and others) know how you have handled it. All good PR, and it should be SOP (standard operating procedure) for any business.

Angie’s List is one of the review sites that is also excellent from an local business SEO perspective–one of the other reasons we suggest claiming your business listing. AL is seen as a trusted site, which links out to your site–and you can link to theirs–and that all is good search engine “mojo.”

So what have you got to lose? If you haven’t already claimed your listing, this just might be the final push you needed to convince you that it is a good idea.

3 Important Facebook Changes Every Local Business Should Know

Heads Up! Facebook is rolling out lots of new changes

Some of the changes are “available” now…meaning, they are live. You may have already discovered some of them, either with joy or consternation.
Facebook changes for local business

If you don’t see these changes on your page yet, just keep this as a reference, because they are coming. Or maybe not…some changes are based on the category that you selected when you created your page for your local business!

Let’s cover 3 changes that are immediately apparent right on your Facebook cover.

  1. CREATE A FACEBOOK USERNAME

Facebook create page username

This should be a great help for people wanting to find your business on Facebook, especially if your name is very common–or very long. Now you can create a unique username.

This option was not available, at the time of this writing, on about half of the pages we are Admins on…and these pages cover a variety of page categories. Not sure if it will be in the future or not. So for now, we are showing a different page as an example.

But if you have the option, this is what you do:

Click on the link “Create Page @username”

A pop up window will appear that allows you to type in the username of your choice.

Some of the tips that Facebook provides include (our comments are in italics)

  • You can’t claim a username someone else is already using. so if you want your name, act FAST
  • Choose a username you’ll be happy with for the long term. Usernames are not transferable, and you can only change your username once. TRIPLE check your spelling!
  • Usernames can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or a period (“.”).
  • Periods (“.”) and capitalization don’t count as a part of a username. For example, johnsmith55, John.Smith55 and john.smith.55 are all considered the same username.
  • Usernames must be at least 5 characters long and can’t contain generic terms or extensions (ex: .com, .net).
  • You must be an admin to choose a username for a Page.
  • Your username must adhere to the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Once you have successfully created your Facebook Username you will get a pop up window that says “You’re all set!”

Your page can now be found by visitors by putting the following into the URL:  fb.me/YourUserName (in this example that would be fb.me/NaturePhotoDigest)

If a potential visitor is already on Facebook, they can enter @YourUserName into the Facebook search field and find your business. Again, if your business name is long, or common, this can be very helpful.

People can also send your page messages at m.me/YourUserName

  1. ADD ACTION BUTTON

Facebook Add Action Button

When you click on this button a popup appears that allows you to Create a Call-to-Action Button.

You can select any of the actions in the list, and that action will come up on your Facebook page, where the “Contact Us” is shown above. The Contact Us button gives you an opportunity to link to your Website’s contact page

This feature can be great, for example, if you want people to be able to easily call you—choose the Call Now button. If you want someone to be able to book an appointment you can link to your scheduling page so the potential patient goes directly there by clicking Book Now.

The Send Message function allows someone to send a message to your via Facebook’s messenger. A word of warning: consider your business needs and your schedule before you decide to go with this one or you may find yourself inundated with messages, or be taken away from your other important tasks. For folks who want instant messages from clients and who can handle the work themselves or via staff, this can be a great tool.

Shop Now is another button that can take someone to your website. This may be great if you are a services business that also sells products. If you are a store, you may prefer to have a different Shop function that creates a virtual store on your Facebook page.

Sign Up is another button that can take someone to your website, you would direct them to your opt-in page.

3. USE AS MY PAGE IS GONE, GONE, GONE…sort of

Facebook Use As Page feature

One of the things local businesses have been frustrated about is the fact that Facebook has taken away the “use as my page” feature. (If you still have it, enjoy it…it won’t last!) There is a workaround for much of this, and it is under the 3 dots next to the Message box.

Click on the 3 dots and you will have several options including

View as Page Visitor, which lets you see what someone else sees when looking at your page. We think this is pretty neat. Sometimes as the Admin of a page you see things that you don’t want other visitors to see. This button allows you to double check that that is what is going on, or give you the opportunity to make changes if visitors are seeing things that you’d rather they did not.

The “Like as Your Page” action is for when you find a page that you want your business to like (rather than liking it as your individual page)…so in this case, we’ve found a photography magazine page that NaturePhotoDigest would like, so on THAT Facebook page, we click “Like As Your Page” and then if you are Admin on more than one page, you will see this message

Facebook Like as Your Page feature

Now you simply select the correct page from the dropdown list…note, if you don’t see your page on the list, it is probably that you have already liked it!

Going back to YOUR page and the 3 dots, there are other functions that you will be able to do from here, such as view your page’s Insights and even create a new page.

Of course, those features won’t be available to you for pages you aren’t Admin on.

Hold on to your seats. There are lots of Facebook changes that local businesses should know about in store.

Dump QuickTime Now

Apple No Longer Supporting QuickTime on Windows, vulnerabilities found

Dump QuickTimeWhile Apple insists the QuickTime plugin will still work, however it has not been properly updated to work well with Windows 8 or Windows 10.

Now is the time to dump QuickTime, at least according to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, an organization within the Department of Homeland Security. US-CERT, as they are otherwise known is tasked with keeping the internet safe.

US-CERT strives for a safer, stronger Internet for all Americans by responding to major incidents, analyzing threats, and exchanging critical cybersecurity information with trusted partners around the world.

Industry experts and the government are urging us to remove QuickTime from our Windows computers. This reaction is not solely because of Apple’s decision to not support the plugin for Windows. Two critical vulnerabilities have been discovered, that if QuickTime is left on your computer could leave your system open for attack. Since Apple is no longer supporting the plugin, these openings are not going to be patched.

Dump QuickTime vulnerabilities

According to Trend Micro:

…ultimately the right answer is to follow Apple’s guidance and uninstall QuickTime for Windows. That is the only sure way to be protected against all current and future vulnerabilities in the product now that Apple is no longer providing security updates for it.

US-CERT also recommends uninstalling the plugin from your Windows based computers

…using unsupported software may increase the risks from viruses and other security threats. Potential negative consequences include loss of confidentiality, integrity, or availability of data, as well as damage to system resources or business assets. The only mitigation available is to uninstall QuickTime for Windows. Users can find instructions for uninstalling QuickTime for Windows on the Apple Uninstall QuickTime

Many Windows users wonder about how they should play videos if they no longer use QuickTime. Fortunately there are many options available to us. You can still use an Apple product, iTunes, to play video and audio files. Your Microsoft computer should also have a built-in media player that will also work. Of course there are other companies who provide players as well if you are interested in a third-party solution.

The lack of support is not new. Companies often phase out support for older products. Microsoft itself no longer supports Windows XP, and is scheduled to stop supporting Vista this year and Windows 7 in 2020. Apple actually began this phase-out in 2013. In January of this year the QuickTime browser plugin for Windows was axed.

QuickTime 7, which is the latest version of the product, was introduced in 2005. It has been replaced on Mac machines since 2009. Those machines use the newer QuickTime X, which according to Trend Micro, doesn’t have the same vulnerabilities. There is no “X” version of QuickTime for Windows.

We find it interesting to note that Apple still has a link on their site allowing users to download the QuickTime plugin for Windows. Apple does not state on their site that the plugin will no longer be supported, nor do they, at the time of this writing, urge users to uninstall the plugin.


Sources: Wall Street Journal, 9 to 5 Mac, The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, Trend Micro

Did Plugin Result in Resignation of Iceland’s PM?

Could the Panama Papers Breach Been Avoided with Basic WordPress Security?

Read how a simple WordPress plugin may have enabled Panama Papers leak

Panama_Papers_Leak_photo_CNN

By now just about everyone has heard about the “Panama Papers Breach.” The fallout is still coming from this leak of over 11.5 million documents, but at the very least the Prime Minister of Iceland has been forced to resign as a result. Russian President Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron are also caught up in the controversy.

The Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca is at the center of the swirl. Our friends at WordFence security have done some testing and they have made a shocking discovery:

The Panama Papers Breach may have been a result of an outdated WordPress Plugin!

Forbes has reported that Mossack Fonseca (abbreviated as MF…how appropriate!) provided a portal for their customers to access their data. This portal reportedly was using an old, vulnerable version of Drupal. WordFence did their own digging and found this:

The MF website runs WordPress and is currently running a version of Revolution Slider that is vulnerable to attack and will grant a remote attacker a shell on the web server.

Viewing this link on the current MF website to a Revolution Slider file reveals the version of revslider they are running is 2.1.7. Versions of Revslider all the way up to 3.0.95 are vulnerable to attack.

MF has since put their website behind a firewall, but only within the last month did this happen.

On top of having an out of date plugin, and providing access to their website via an unprotected portal, it seems that MF also used the same server for their website as their email server.

While these hackers may have done the world a service by exposing corruption, learn a lesson from the failings of MF. Protect your business and your clients by securing your website.


Read more, or watch the video on CNN here

Read more about the possible plugin connection on WordFence’s blog here

Is Your Website Back Door Unlocked?

Over 300,000 Users May Have: Read Latest Website Security Update and Make Sure You are Locked Down

Website Security Updates from Internet Advertising that Works

The plugin User Role Editor has been reported to provide a backdoor way for your users to gain controls that you may not want them to have.

This popular plugin, which has more than 300,000 active installations has a serious vulnerability.

The vulnerability allows any registered user to gain administrator access. For sites that have open registration, this is a serious security hole.

As we mentioned in our post about Internet Security last month, it is important to keep your plugins current. Be sure to update your plugins immediately, and if you do have User Role Editor on your site be sure to upgrade to the latest version (currently that is 4.25.)


Read more of the technical bits on the WordFence blog post here

Top WordPress Website Security Tips

How to Prevent Hackers from Entering Via Biggest Risk: Your Plugins

hacked_website_how_compromised

Although most website owners and managers who have had the unfortunate experience of being hacked don’t actually know HOW their site was compromised–of those who do, over 50% know it was from a plugin.

Does that mean that you should not use plugins on your website? Of course not, they are part of the beauty of WordPress websites. Plugins add specific functions to our websites without the website owner having to know a whole bunch of code.

Plugins play a big part in making WordPress as popular as it is today. As of this writing there are 43,719 plugins available for download in the official WordPress plugin directory. That is an incredible selection of plug and play software. But you obviously need to be careful with them, as plugin vulnerabilities represented 55.9% of the known entry points reported by respondents.

How do you take advantage of plugins while simultaneously being smart about your WordPress website security?

Keep Plugins Current

We know it can seem like a hassle when you have to update your plugins all the time. But that hassle is so minor compared to the hassle of getting hacked–cleaning up your website, lost time, lost revenue, lost clients, lost business potential. It is definitely worth it.

So when you get a notice that your plugin has an update available, it is a good idea to update. (We do recommend making regular backups of your website as well. Your plugin update may not work with your existing theme, for example. So you want to have a recent backup before you update plugins.)

Get Rid of Abandoned Plugins

If you have a plugin that has not been updated in at least 6 months you should seriously consider a different plugin. This is generally a sign that the developer is no longer supporting the plugin, otherwise known as having abandoned it. That means no one is looking our for your WordPress website security at all. A perfect way for a hacker to get in.

Less is More

Use as few plugins as you can to get the job done. If you have deactivated the plugin, take it off your site. If you don’t need it, don’t upload it–or get rid of it.

Use Reliable Plugins

Many plugins are available from the official WordPress site, but not all are. Don’t let a hacker trick you into loading an open doorway for them to get into your store.

How do you know if a site is reputable or not? Here are the suggestions from Wordfence, the WordPress website security software that we use and recommend.

  • Eye Test – Is the site itself professionally designed and uses clear language to describe the product? Or does it look like it was thrown together quickly by a single individual?

  • Company Information – Does the site belong to a company with the company name in the footer?

  • TOS and Privacy Policy – Do they have terms of service and a privacy policy?

  • Contact Info – Do they provide a physical contact address on the contact page or in their terms of service?

  • Domain Search – Google the domain name in quotes e.g. “example.com”. Do you find any reports of malicious activity. Add the word ‘theme’ or ‘plugin’ next to the quoted domain name in your search and see what that reveals.

  • Name Search – Do a Google search for the name of the plugin and see if any malicious activity is reported. Add the phrase “malware” or “spyware” to the search which may reveal forums discussing a malicious version of the theme being distributed.

  • Vulnerability Search – Do a search for the theme or plugin name or the vendor name and include the word “vulnerability”. This will help you find out if any vulnerabilities have been reported for the product you’re interested in or for the vendor. If they have fixed the vulnerability in a timely manner, that usually indicates they are a responsible vendor who is actively maintaining their product when problems arise.

Plugins are certainly not the only source of hacking. In order to protect your website and maintain a level of internet security here are some additional pointers:

Select your usernames and passwords with care. Make them unique and different: don’t use the same one for all your sites, make them hard for someone to guess.

Use some sort of website security. We use Wordfence, we appreciate the training and education they provide, along with common breaches to look out for. It is available in a free version and a paid version. The paid version doesn’t cost much and we find that it saves us enough time that it is worth it–but start with the free account if you want to try it out.

There are other options out there as well, so whether you use Wordfence or another product–protect your internet asset one way or another. We don’t get paid for recommending them, it is just who we use.


Thanks to our friends at WordFence for the original article, which can be read on their blog here. The graphic is from the same article.

Facebook Responds to Mobile’s Need for Speed

Instant Articles will be Available to All Publishers

Read about the benefits for you–as a reader and as a local business owner:

Facebook instant articles image

Slow loading time on mobile is the bane of all internet marketers at this time. So many people get their information from mobile devices that they cannot be ignored. As more and more platforms and apps recognize this, they are scrambling to increase the load speed.

This is great news for the mobile users. However it has also allowed them to become less patient and more finicky about how they received data. Since there are sources where the information loads quickly, the users tend to migrate to those outlets.

Bottom line: if you want to keep up, you have to satisfy the mobile users’ need for speed.

Facebook has been working on doing precisely that with Instant Articles.Touted as a way for publishers to get content to their readers more quickly, this program has, to date, only been available to a select group of publishers for testing.

The wait for the rest of the publishing (and marketing) world is almost over! Facebook has recently announced that on April 12th Instant Articles will be open to all publishers. Yep, ALL publishers. No size restrictions. No location limitations.

We built Instant Articles to solve a specific problem—slow loading times on the mobile web created a problematic experience for people reading news on their phones. This is a problem that impacts publishers of all sizes, especially those with audiences where low connectivity is an issue. With that in mind, our goal from the beginning was to open up Instant Articles to all publishers and we’re excited to be able to do that in a way that makes it fast and easy for all publishers to reach their audiences on Facebook.

This is a great idea for Facebook–they will be able to keep their user base rather than seeing them head for greener, and faster, pastures.

Here is what also sounds great for the publishers: publishers retain full control! Control over the content, control over how it looks, and control over the advertising! Facebook will even allow publishers to show content that has ads that are not part of the Facebook product line–without taking a cut.

With Instant Articles, publishers have full control over the look of their stories, as well as data and ads. They have the ability to bring their own direct-sold ads and keep 100% of the revenue, and track data on the ads served through their existing ad measurement systems, or they can monetize their content through the Facebook Audience Network. Additionally, publishers can use their existing web-based analytics systems to track article traffic or use third-party providers. They can do all this while accessing a rich suite of multimedia tools to create dynamic, interactive stories, that will load quickly everywhere on Facebook, regardless of where in the world their readers are.

Instant articles using the same technology that is currently used to upload photographs with speed.

And speaking of photographs, rather than being limited to the size of your mobile phone screen, users will be able to tilt their phone (yes, tilt, not swipe) and see more of the photograph. Users will be able to zoom into the photo and see an interactive map of where the photo was taken.

Videos will also run seamlessly with this technology. In all, it is an awesome user experience.

Although geared for media outlets, this technology will have a big impact on any local business who engages in content marketing. And let’s be honest, content marketing is an important part of being found on the internet today.


To learn more about the opening of Facebook Instant Articles, read Josh Roberts’ original post here

Read more about Instant Articles here.

To learn more about how you can take advantage of Instant Articles as a publisher, read this documentation from Facebook

Photo courtesy of Facebook