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Facebook’s latest News Feed change could push more publishers to Instant Articles

Facebook is once again updating its News Feed algorithm, this time to take into account how quickly (or slowly) a web page loads after a user clicks on a link from their mobile device.

Facebook says it will soon start punishing stories that load slowly by decreasing their reach, and prioritise stories that load quickly for users of Facebook’s mobile app.

The company has a threshold for what constitutes a fast/acceptable load time and what doesn’t. Because that number will fluctuate, the company isn’t sharing it publicly, says Facebook product manager Greg Marra.

“It’s a pretty generous definition [of fast],” Marra explained without sharing exactly what that definition is. “Most of the things that you’re going to be reading on your phone are going to be considered fast in our definition.”

Regardless, Facebook says the change is meant to improve the user experience — no one likes waiting for pages to load.

But there may be another motive here: Instant Articles. Facebook wants to host publisher stories on its own website, and one of the major benefits of hosting your content on Facebook is that it’s supposed to load faster.

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