Facebook to stop paying news publishers, remove News tab from feed

In an upcoming move set to take place in early April 2024, Facebook has announced its decision to remove the News Tab from its platform in the United States and Australia. This action follows a similar deprecation of the Facebook News feature in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, as announced in September 2023.

The decision is part of Facebook’s ongoing effort to realign its investments with the products and services that users value most. According to the social media giant, the usage of Facebook News in Australia and the U.S. has declined significantly, with a drop of over 80 per cent reported last year. Facebook stated that people primarily use the platform for connecting with others and discovering new interests, rather than consuming news or political content.

Despite the removal of the News Tab, users will still be able to access news articles through links shared on Facebook. News publishers will retain access to their accounts and Pages, enabling them to post links to their stories and direct users to their websites. Additionally, publishers can utilize features like Reels and the ads system to reach wider audiences and drive traffic to their platforms, keeping 100 per cent of the revenue generated from outbound links on Facebook.

Facebook clarified that existing agreements with publishers in Australia, France, and Germany remain unaffected by this decision, although deals in the US and the UK have already expired. Furthermore, the company stated that it will not pursue new commercial deals for traditional news content in these countries, nor will it introduce new Facebook products specifically aimed at news publishers in the future.

Despite these changes, Facebook emphasized its commitment to providing users with reliable information on its platforms. The company collaborates with third-party fact-checkers accredited by organizations like the International Fact-Checking Network to combat the spread of misinformation. Since 2016, Facebook has invested over $150 million in programs supporting fact-checking efforts and plans to continue investing in this area.

The removal of the News Tab from Facebook’s feed marks a significant shift in the company’s strategy towards prioritizing user engagement and aligning its services with user preferences. However, it remains to be seen how this decision will impact the consumption of news content on the platform and the broader media landscape.

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