Facebook has quietly launched a new feature for iOS in the United States, designed to encourage users to share more content on the platform.

The new 'Add a Link' button allows users to quickly search for articles from within Facebook, making it easier for them to post a link that supports their status update.

The search engine is powered by Facebook's own algorithm, which is based around content that is already shared in and indexed by Facebook - a feature that is bound to encourage publishers onto Facebook's Instant Articles platform.

We've explained the possible benefits and pitfalls on our blog.

Video Transcript

Hello and welcome to Digital Minute. This week, we’re taking a look at Facebook’s new feature to boost social referrals.

Sharing links through social media on a mobile device isn’t the easiest of tasks, but Facebook now appears to be addressing that.

Some iOS users have reported that an ‘Add a link’ button appears as they compose a status update. This button links through to a search engine, which generates a list of articles.

So, if a user wants to talk about the election result, they can quickly search for a relevant story, rather than flick between a series of apps to copy and paste their link.

The search engine is based on links that have already been shared on Facebook. If you think that this ties in nicely with Facebook’s Instant Articles initiative, which would see it host content from news providers on its own platform, you’d probably be right.

It is early days for this feature but this is definitely one to keep an eye on. The potential benefits are clear but the trade-off for brands and publishers could be much less control over their content.

We’ve summarised what this all means over on our blog.

Thanks for watching. I’m Lisa Wisniowski and that was your Digital Minute.

How to subscribe

To ensure you don’t miss an episode, we’ve ensured you can subscribe in whatever ways suits you. You'll find Digital Minute on:

We hope you’ll find the series useful and would to hear your comments and feedback.

youtubeitunes soundcloud stitcher