Facebook Instant Articles will launch with European partners The Guardian, BBC, Spiegel, Bild

Usually I do not intend to publish breaking news on meshedsociety.com. But what to do when a certain kind of newsworthy information just finds its way to you? As someone who has been covering tech daily for many years, ignoring it would feel like a big sin.

Although admittedly, most facts about this particular news have already been circulating as rumors. An open secret, so to speak. So here is the deal:

Facebook officially unveils today (Wednesday) that it will host “native” content from well-known publishers inside its mobile app (update: link to the announcement). The feature will go live with a couple of launch partners in the U.S. (among others The New York Times, National Geographic and The Atlantic) starting from today.

For the German market, the launch will happen in a few weeks, starting with two major publishers: Der Spiegel and Bild. Other international media brand that are partnering with Facebook for the “Instant Articles” feature are The Guardian and BBC. Continue Reading

The web needs an open and universal follow button

When I started meshedsociety.com about two month ago, I stumbled upon a little issue: I wanted to tell my friends and online contacts about the site, and my intention was to make it as easy as possible for them to follow – you know, like you would do on Twitter, Medium, Facebook (with a “like”) or YouTube.

Well, unfortunately for those who host their own sites, this kind of fancy and convenient system with built-in traffic generator does not exist. Instead one has to rely on a mix of different isolated subscription solutions, all of which have some serious flaws.

RSS is perfect for those who use an RSS reader, but outside of tech circles, who does? And even within the industry the number of people rejecting the format is growing. Asking users to follow on Twitter or to “like” on Facebook works to some extent. But at Facebook the chance to have content actually showing up in users’ newsfeeds is small considering the tough competition and Facebook’s algorithm-based selection. Twitter is not ideal either if you want to make sure that your work is being seen. Furthermore, most Twitter users are too lazy or busy to click on links that appear in their timeline. Continue Reading