Social Media

Facebook is testing a subscription tool for Instant Articles on Android

Well, most of you probably saw this coming from Facebook but yes, the company is testing a news subscription tool for its Instant Articles on Android devices over the next few weeks.

Facebook is working with several publishers during this test period. They include; Bild, The Boston Globe, The Economist, Hearst-owned properties The Houston Chronicle and The San Francisco Chronicle, La Repubblica, Le Parisien, Spiegel, The Telegraph, Tronc (The Baltimore Sun, The Los Angeles Times, and The San Diego Union-Tribune), and The Washington Post.

So why does Facebook testing this feature, first it is important to note that this is as a result of the company’s journalism project. Facebook says it is listening to news publishers all over the world to better understand their needs and goals and collaborating more closely on the development of new products from the beginning of the process.

‘’Earlier this year, many publishers identified subscriptions as a top priority, so we worked with a diverse group of partners to design, refine, and develop a test suited for a variety of premium news models,’’ Facebook said

‘’We also heard from publishers that maintaining control over pricing, offers, subscriber relationships, and 100% of the revenue are critical to their businesses, and this test is designed to do that.’’

How will it work? As part of the test, some Android users in across the US and Europe will be directed from Facebook mobile Instant Articles to sign up for subscriptions directly with those new publishers.

Facebook says it testing two subscription models, one that will allow users 10 free articles before subscription is needed and a freemium model that will allow publishers which articles are free and which one users can pay for. When users decide to subscribe, Facebook says the publisher will process the payment directly and keep 100% of the revenue. These subscriptions will also include full access to a publisher’s site and apps.

“This initial test will roll out on Android devices, and we hope to expand it soon,” the company said.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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