Facebook Removes News Tab, Ceases Payments to News Publishers

Facebook Removes News Tab, Ceases Payments to News Publishers

Facebook discontinues payments to news publishers and eliminates the News Tab in the US and Australia, following a similar move in other countries.

In a forthcoming move scheduled for early April 2024, Facebook has announced its decision to eliminate the News Tab from its platform in the United States and Australia. This decision mirrors a previous announcement made in September 2023, where Facebook also discontinued the Facebook News feature in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

The decision reflects Facebook's ongoing initiative to reallocate investments toward products and services that align more closely with user preferences. According to Facebook, usage of the News Tab has significantly declined in Australia and the US, with a reported decrease of over 80 per cent last year. The platform emphasizes that users primarily use Facebook for social connections and exploring personal interests rather than consuming news or political content.

Despite the removal of the News Tab, users can still access news articles through links shared on Facebook. News publishers will retain access to their accounts and Pages, allowing them to post links to their stories and direct traffic to their websites. Additionally, publishers can leverage features like Reels and the ad system to expand their reach and retain 100 per cent of revenue generated from outbound links on Facebook.

Facebook reassured that existing agreements with publishers in Australia, France, and Germany will remain unaffected, although deals in the US and the UK have expired. Moreover, the platform will not pursue new commercial agreements for traditional news content in these countries, nor will it introduce new Facebook products explicitly targeted at news publishers.

Despite these changes, Facebook remains committed to providing users with credible information on its platforms. The company collaborates with accredited third-party fact-checkers to combat misinformation, investing over $150 million in fact-checking programs since 2016.

The removal of the News Tab signifies a strategic shift for Facebook toward prioritizing user engagement and aligning services with user preferences. However, the impact of this decision on news consumption on the platform and the broader media landscape remains to be seen.

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