Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has announced its decision to discontinue the Facebook News feature in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, starting in early December. This move is part of Meta’s ongoing effort to realign its investments with the products and services that users value the most.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is deprecating the Facebook News feature in the U.K., Germany, and France. This decision is part of Meta’s effort to prioritize investments in products and services that users value the most.
The Facebook News Feature
Facebook News was introduced by Meta in 2019 as a curated news section for publishers. It exists within a dedicated tab on the Facebook interface, and it was initially launched in the United States before expanding internationally to the U.K., Germany, Australia, and France. However, the planned launches in Brazil and India never materialized.
Facebook News aims to provide both local and international news based on the interests of each market. It originally featured algorithmically determined suggested articles along with a curated “top stories” section. However, Meta announced last year that the entire section was transitioning to an algorithmic approach.
Meta’s Shift Away from News
Today’s announcement aligns with Meta’s broader strategy of deprioritizing news content. In recent years, the company has been transitioning toward the creator economy and reducing its emphasis on news. This shift is partly driven by the divisive nature of certain news stories, especially those with political implications. Last year, Facebook renamed its news feed as “feed” as a part of this transition.
Furthermore, there has been a global pushback against the role of Big Tech companies in the distribution of news. Countries like Australia and Canada have introduced legislation requiring online platforms to compensate publishers for their content. Meta negotiated deals with publishers in Australia, but it started blocking access to news stories in Canada, leading to criticism from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In Europe, the EU Copyright Directive has prompted Meta and Google to enter into licensing agreements with publishers. The decreasing referral traffic from Facebook to publishers’ websites further confirms Meta’s mission to move away from news. The company has emphasized that news content constitutes less than 3% of the overall content users see in their feeds.
The Future of Facebook News
Despite deprecating Facebook News in the U.K., Germany, and France, Meta clarifies that it is not blocking links to articles or publisher pages. European news publishers will continue to have access to their Facebook accounts and pages, allowing them to share links to their stories and direct users to their websites.
However, Meta affirms that it does not expect to offer new Facebook products specifically for news publishers in the future, indicating a clear shift in its focus away from news content in its offerings. Although the Facebook News tab remains active in the U.S. and Australia, the future of this feature remains uncertain. Meta’s decision reflects its commitment to aligning its investments with user preferences and its strategic priorities.