- Meta will begin phasing out its Facebook News features, a tab in the app’s bookmarks section that spotlights news, in the U.K., France and Germany in early December, according to a company blog post.
- The change will not affect users’ ability to view links to news articles on Facebook, and European news publishers will continue to have the ability to post links to their stories and direct users to their websites, according to the company.
- Meta said it will continue to honor existing Facebook News deals with publishers until they expire. However, the company will not enter into new commercial deals for news content, nor will it offer new Facebook products specifically for news publishers in the future.
As part of Meta’s so-called “year of efficiency,” the company has continued to reconsider which of its features it prioritizes. Among them, news seems to have little room for opportunity — according to the company announcement, news makes up less than 3% of what people see in their Facebook feeds.
“As a company, we have to focus our time and resources on things people tell us they want to see more of on the platform, including short-form video,” the blog post reads. “We know that people don’t come to Facebook for news and political content – they come to connect with people and discover new opportunities, passions and interests.”
Accordingly, the company called the deprecation of its Facebook News product as a way to invest in the products and services its users value most. The company also noted that news organizations can count on other offerings, like its ads system and Reels, its TikTok-lookalike video format, which is now leveraged by more than three-fourths of Meta’s advertisers, according to the company’s Q2 earnings. During the earnings period, Meta saw revenue up 11% year-over-year, a sign that its turnaround plan is beginning to show signs of payoff.
While a leaner organization is a major focus for Meta this year, its latest move also comes amid ongoing pressure for Meta and others to increase their compensation for news publishers. For example, Meta in 2021 temporarily blocked news publishers and barred news-sharing on Facebook in Australia following proposed legislation from the Australian government that sought to require platforms like Facebook and Google to pay news publishers for accessing their content. The company more recently blocked news on its Facebook and Instagram platforms for Canadian users in response to a similar law.
Though its News feature is undergoing a shift, the company asserted that its decision to deprecate its news feed in the three European markets will not affect its work with third-party fact-checkers. The company said it has invested more than $100 million in fact-checking services since 2016.