Last year, Facebook officially opened up Instant Articles to all websites last year, which meant that publishers, brands and other site owners had to figure out how to make their sites’ regular pages convert to Facebook’s proprietary format. This became an even bigger headache if these sites also supported Apple’s and Google’s proprietary article formats. But it looks like Facebook has seen this problem and has decided to make it easier for site owners to manage all three formats. This will make it more likely that AMP pages and Apple News links will look more like Instant Articles.
Facebook rolled out a software tool on Thursday that lets developers automatically convert an Instant Articles page to Google’s AMP format, and eventually the Apple News format.
If and when site developers adopt the tool, their site pages will look more homogeneous across Facebook, Google and Apple page formats, since developers are going to need to create the Instant Articles page first to be translated into an AMP and/or Apple News page. In the end, this means that Facebook’s format will end up becoming more influential on its rivals’ versions.
In this case, Facebook could come out with a content option that AMP and Apple News doesn’t yet support or vice versa, limiting adoption by publishers that are automatically converting Instant Articles to the other formats.
But for the time being, Facebook’s tool seems to be working well with Google’s and Apple’s formats. According to the tool’s official documentation, Publishers are able to include code in an Instant Articles page that will override conversions that Facebook would make to page elements like ads or analytics tags. Plus, publishers are given the option to export the style details of the pages they create using its Instant Articles Style Editor to AMP and Apple News.
“For example the custom formats, like fonts, colors and captions, that publishers have designed in the Style Editor, will be closely mirrored in the other formats,” according to a Facebook blog post announcing the tool.