It’s fairly evident that Meta has been losing interest in dealing with news links and discussion across its platforms for some time and now the company is doing away with Facebook’s News tab in a few countries. It will remove the dedicated section in the UK, France and Germany in early December.
Unlike in Canada, where the company has blocked news content to protest a law that would compel it to pay publishers in the country, Meta says news organizations can continue to post links, Reels and so on to Facebook in those three territories. Users shouldn’t have any issues with accessing news content there either.
Meta says it will honor existing Facebook News deals with publishers in the UK, France and Germany. However, it won’t renew those pacts or enter into new ones in those countries. Moreover, the company doesn’t “expect to offer new Facebook products specifically for news publishers in the future.”
Meta says the Facebook News shutdown in the three countries is part of its efforts to funnel resources toward services and products users care more about. News accounts for less than three percent of what people see in their Facebook feeds, and the company claims folks are more interested in short-form video, connecting with other people and finding opportunities, interests and passions.
The decision doesn’t undercut Meta’s commitment to providing users with access to reliable information across its platforms, the company said. It added that it remains committed to working with third-party fact checkers to clamp down on misinformation.
Still, the shuttering of the tab is part of a trend of Meta depreciating the importance of news across its platforms. For one thing, it switched from human curators to relying on algorithms to place stories in the News tab earlier this year. When it debuted its latest platform, Threads, it said news wouldn’t be a priority there. That’s despite the company designing the service as a direct competitor to X (formerly Twitter), where news and real-time events drove much of the discourse for over a decade.
Meta’s decision to nix news content in Canada entirely has been a contentious one. Many parties criticized Meta for limiting access to reliable information related to serious issues such as the wildfires that have raged across the country this summer.
Last week, the Canadian government said that to comply with its Online News Act and continue to offer users in the country news content on Facebook and Instagram, Meta would need to pay publishers there around $62 million CAD ($45.5 million) per year. Meta, which generated over five times that amount in revenue per day last year, didn’t budge on its stance.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/facebooks-news-tab-is-going-away-in-the-uk-france-and-germany-142243544.html?src=rss