Facebook is preparing to release a new plugin, which will enable content creators to publish Instant Articles from WordPress up to ten times faster. The plugin is set to arrive next month in time for the wider launch of Instant Articles, which is a new format that will make it easier for users to generate and post mobile-optimised content on the social media site.
Facebook has teamed up with the parent company of WordPress, Automattic, to build the free plugin. The new tool will come with various built-in interactive features that will help news stories and articles to come to life on mobile. For example, the plugin is able to recognise images and alter them so they render properly and adapt videos for a better end-user experience. It will also support interactive and social graphic embeds and native auto play video.
It is a notable move for Facebook. As WordPress currently powers more than a quarter of web pages, the plugin is likely to broaden the appeal of Instant Articles with marketers and advertisers. Facebook announced in February that it would open up Instant Articles for all publishers in April, and the arrival of an open-source plugin breaks down a further barrier for publishers without extensive coding skills, as they will be able to embrace mobile formatting.
“Our goal from the beginning has been to make Instant Articles available to all publishers and our partnership with Automattic is another exciting step towards realizing that goal on April 12 at our F8 conference,” Facebook’s Chris Ackermann, Partner Engineering said in a blog post. “We will continue to iterate the plugin over the coming weeks and look forward to collaborating with the WordPress community to improve the experience.”
Publishers will be able to activate the plugin and create Instant Articles using standard WordPress templates immediately when both features launch next month. Those requiring a more customised experience can also extend the plugin to support additional features. The fact that the plugin is open-source means that there should be plenty of support from the publishing community, and it will also be differentiated from other mobile-optimised platforms such as Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).