Facebook Introduces WordPress Plugin for Instant Articles

What do you get when you combine the leading social network’s focus on electronic publishing with the reach of a blog platform giant?

What do you get when you combine the leading social network’s focus on electronic publishing with the reach of a blog platform giant?

Facebook announced in February that its robust, interactive Instant Articles will be opened to all publishers April 12, in time for its F8 global developers conference, and the social network upped the ante Monday, announcing a plugin for WordPress.

Chris Ackermann, part of the partner engineering team at Facebook, said in a Facebook Media blog post that the social network worked with WordPress.com VIP parent company Automattic on a free plugin to simplify the process of generating and publishing Instant Articles directly via the WordPress platform, adding that the plugin was tested with “a small group of publishers” on WordPress.

According to Ackermann, when Instant Articles are opened up to all publishers April 12, publishers using standard WordPress templates can activate the plugin out-of-the-box, while those that prefer further customization can extend the plugin to support whatever elements they deem necessary.

Ackermann added that the plugin is open-source, and publishers can submit feedback via GitHub or share compatibility layers with other plugins via pull requests.

He wrote in the blog post:

The open-source WordPress publishing platform now powers more than 25 percent of sites on the Web, so we are excited to help millions of publishers all over the world bring the Instant Articles experience to their readers.

For example, the plugin recognizes the image found in this Foreign Policy article and specifies the correct markup so the photo renders properly in the Instant Article. The photo expands to fill the screen when tapped and allows exploration by simply tilting the phone.

InstantArticlesWordPressPluginForeignPolicy

In this example, the third-party video player embedded in this Zap2it article from Tribune Broadcasting is beautifully adapted for the Instant Articles experience. The plugin also supports native auto-play video, as well as social and interactive graphic embeds.

InstantArticlesWordPressPluginZap2it

Our goal from the beginning has been to make Instant Articles available to all publishers, and our partnership with Automattic is another exciting step toward realizing that goal on April 12 at our F8 conference. 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: Are you looking forward to getting your hands on Facebook Instant Articles?