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Facebook confirms plan to help sell subscriptions via Instant Articles

Publishers who have gravitated away from Facebook Instant Articles over fears of over-dependence may soon have cause to reconsider, as the social network confirmed last week the rumored addition of a function allowing users to purchase subscriptions to media outlets whose articles they read on the platform.

The statement was short on details, but Zuckerberg did add that Facebook plans to begin experimenting with “a small group of U.S. and European publishers later this year.”

Publishers have reason to be skeptical of Facebook’s promise to let them keep revenue ostensibly generated by the platform’s own users. Apple, for example, includes an optional “Subscribe Now” button that can be integrated into stories read on its Apple News interface — The EconomistNational Geographic, and Time are among the brands who use it — but like any transaction in the App Store, Apple takes a 30 percent cut of the revenue.

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