The feature, which was launched roughly two years ago, is hitting a rough patch as publishers can’t quite figure out how to monetize them.
The New York Times has reportedly pulled out of publishing through the platform, and other publishers have decreased their reliance on it.
The announcement is significant because The Times was one of the first organizations to test Facebook’s beta version of the feature. Another major publisher, Hearst, has also pulled out of using the tool.
Digiday reported that The Times “stopped using Instant Articles after a test last fall that found that links back to the Times’ own site monetized better than Instant Articles.” Pushing users to the native site also helped to drive more subscriptions, reps said. Hearst also cited lack of monetization for its reasoning in leaving.
Facebook promised publishers faster load times for their stories. They delivered, with several third-party studies showing that content via Instant Articles loaded faster than going to a publisher’s site.