In a blog post yesterday, Facebook appears to be wanting to help publishers optimize their mobile experience. The network offers publishers a number of tips covering reducing file size, minimizing redirects and more that can help their sites load more quickly when someone clicks a link on Facebook and wants to read a story. It also mentions toward the end that it’s “prefetching” that will load a page before someone clicks the link in order to cut down on how long loading will take, something it says will shave precious seconds off the process.
This is the first thing in quite a while that’s come from Facebook that isn’t focused on just getting publishers to post more natively on Facebook. It’s almost like it realizes Google AMP is more of a threat than they’ve previously let on and so are going to take a similar approach, at least publicly, wanting to look like they want to help the mobile web thrive, not consume it like a bridge troll eats a baby. Note that the post specifically calls out the in-app browser, meant to show that it’s sending traffic, if only publishers would let it.
There’s some political gamesmanship going on here, that much seems clear to me. It’s an olive branch to publishers who are publicly questioning at an increasing rate whether they’ve made a bad bargain with giving Facebook so much control over their fates.