Instant Articles, day 2
Thursday, February 25, 2016 by Dave Winer

I'm still figuring out very basic stuff about Instant Articles.

When I posted the Cable Liars Network piece a few minutes ago, I noted that it showed up in the list of instant articles that the Facebook RSS reader had found. So I went looking for the article in my timeline. It wasn't there. Then I opened the Pages app on my iPhone, and it was there. So there's no doubt that the article had been picked up by the operating system on the "other side."

Why wasn't it in the timeline?

Then I had an idea. I posted a link to the version of the article on to my timeline on Facebook. It shows up with the usual title and snippet in a box, linked to the original. But then, when I looked at it on my iPhone, and clicked the link, up popped the Instant Articles version of the piece.

Conclusion: The Instant Articles scanner creates an association in the Facebook database betw the URL of a story on my site, and the Instant rendering of the story. If you're looking at it in the timeline on the phone and you click the link, you see the instant version. On a non-phone device (desktop, laptop, tablet) you visit the page  on my site. 

PS: It'll be interesting to see what happens with the link to the piece in the second paragraph. It has an IA version of that piece in its database. When you click on it in FB on a phone will it show you the IA version or the one on my site? We'll find out soon enough! ;-)

PPS: Update to the postscript. Yes. If you click on a link to an IA story from within another post, you get the IA version of the story. The database is running at a fairly low level in the Facebook OS. Good design. 

PPPS: Doug Purdy, ex-of-Facebook, says these are called AppLinks.