Facebook has announced its plans to deprecate the dedicated news section for users in the U.K., France, and Germany. This decision is part of Meta’s ongoing effort to align its investments with the products and services that users value the most.
In its announcement, Meta stated that it intends to focus on short-form video content, citing its Reels product as an example. The company aims to allocate more time and resources to this format, indicating a strategic shift away from news articles. According to Meta, news represents less than 3% of the content shown in users’ Facebook feeds.
Obligations to Publishers
While Meta plans to deprecate the Facebook News tab, it assured that it would fulfill the obligations it made to publishers in the affected countries. The company will honor existing agreements but will not enter into new deals with news publishers. Additionally, Meta expressed that there are no plans to introduce new products specifically for news publishers.
When Facebook News was launched in 2019, the company emphasized that its purpose was to bring users closer to the stories that impact their lives. However, this deprecation decision reflects a broader move away from the news business by Meta.
Avoiding Compliance with Canadian Law
Meta’s decision to block news content on Facebook and Instagram in Canada came after the country passed the Online News Act. This legislation mandates tech firms to pay content fees to media outlets. Meta expressed disagreement with the law, arguing that it doesn’t accurately depict the value news outlets receive when using their platforms. The company believes it does not unfairly benefit from news content shared on Facebook and Instagram.
Criticism and Potential Consequences
The decision to block news links in Canada was met with criticism from news experts who believe it could lead to an increase in misinformation. Additionally, there are concerns about the negative impact on local news organizations, as they rely on social media platforms to reach their audience.
Meta’s deprecation of the news section in European countries signifies its shift towards focusing on short-form video content. While the company will fulfill its obligations to existing publishers, it has no plans to enter into new agreements or introduce new products for news publishers. The decision in Canada to block news links has sparked controversy and raised concerns about the potential consequences for media outlets and the spread of misinformation.