Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, has announced its decision to discontinue the “Facebook News” feature on its social media app in the UK, France, and Germany. This move is part of Meta’s strategy to enhance its products and services, prioritizing user connections and opportunities over news consumption. While users will still be able to view links to news articles, Meta will no longer form new commercial deals or offer product innovations for news publishers in these countries.
“Facebook News” is a dedicated tab within the Facebook app that curates a feed of news articles. However, Meta emphasizes that news content accounts for less than 3 percent of what users see in their Facebook feed, highlighting that news discovery is a small component of the overall Facebook experience for the majority of individuals. The company’s decision to discontinue “Facebook News” in these three European countries reflects this perspective.
Despite the removal of the “Facebook News” feature, European news publishers will still have access to their Facebook accounts and pages. This means that they can continue to engage with their audiences and share news content through their existing channels on the platform. While Meta acknowledges that news is an important part of societal discourse, the company believes that users primarily utilize Facebook to connect with others and explore new opportunities, rather than solely seeking news and political content.
Responding to Legal Requirements
Meta’s decision to discontinue “Facebook News” in the UK, France, and Germany follows the introduction of legislation in various countries that requires internet giants to compensate news publishers for the use of their content. Canada was the first country where Meta began blocking news on its Facebook and Instagram platforms, responding to a new law mandating payment to news publishers. Australia implemented a similar law in 2021.
A Global Trend
Meta is not the only tech company facing pressure from lawmakers to share a higher percentage of advertising revenue with news publishers. Its fellow industry giant, Alphabet, has also encountered similar regulatory challenges. This global trend indicates a growing recognition of the value and importance of news content within the digital ecosystem.
As Meta Platforms discontinues the “Facebook News” feature in the UK, France, and Germany, it marks a significant shift in the company’s approach to news consumption on its platform. Prioritizing user connections and opportunities, Meta acknowledges that news discovery plays a minimal role in the overall Facebook experience for most users. However, European news publishers will still maintain access to their accounts and pages, allowing them to continue engaging with their audiences. This decision reflects ongoing legislative developments and highlights the evolving relationship between tech companies and news publishers in an increasingly digitized world.