Meta is removing Facebook's dedicated News section in several European countries
Facebook parent company Meta announced today that it is removing the dedicated news section on Facebook for users in several European countries.
In An Update on Facebook News in Europe, the company reveals that it will deprecate Facebook News in France, Germany and the United Kingdom in early December 2023.
Facebook users may activate the news tab on Facebook's website and in the official apps to access curated news content; this option is removed from Facebook in early December.
Meta is quick to point out that this does not mean that users from the affected countries can't read news anymore on Facebook. News content remains available in a user's feed and by running searches. In other words: only the option to access news via the dedicated news tab is removed.
Publishers who came to an agreement with Facebook regarding Facebook News may continue to post news content on the site. Meta will furthermore honor its obligations under existing Facebook News agreements. Agreements with existing publishers will not be renewed and no new publishers will bee added to the list of official news publishers in those three countries.
Meta expects that it won't offer "new Facebook products specifically for news publishers in the future".
The company explains that news content makes up "less than 3%" of the content of feeds of users on Facebook, making news a "small part of the Facebook experience" for most users. The decision was made to put Facebook News to rest to focus development resources on services that Facebook users "value the most", according to Meta.
The decision to end Facebook News in the three countries is not related to Meta's earlier decision to block news content on Facebook and Instagram in Canada.
Meta suggests that news publishers use other ways to drive eyes on their content and traffic to their sites. Products such as Facebook Reels, a short video format, or Facebook's advertising system are mentioned specifically.
The dedicated news tab remains on Facebook until is removal in December 2023. Facebook users may continue to see news content in their feeds, for instance, when other users publish news, through ads, or when Facebook's algorithm pushes non-sponsored content into the news feed of users.
Facebook did not reveal financial information about its News service in the three countries. One reason for the termination of the service could be that it did not provide Facebook with enough revenue to make it a sustainable feature.
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