Meta is killing the Facebook News tab in the US and Australia

In early April, the Facebook News tab will start disappearing for users in the US and Australia. Meta has announced that it’s deprecating the dedicated tab found in the bookmarks section of its social network as part of its efforts to “align [its] investments to [its] products and services people value the most.” The company already retired the News tab in the UK, France and Germany in early December 2023, explaining that it’s funneling its resources to other things that people want to see more of, such as short form videos.

In Meta’s new post, it said the number of people using the News tab in the US and Australia over the past year has dropped by 80 percent. News makes up less than three percent of what users see on Facebook apparently, and it’s just not a big part of their experience. “We know that people don’t come to Facebook for news and political content — they come to connect with people and discover new opportunities, passions and interests,” the company wrote.

By pulling the News tab in Australia, the company will also stop paying publishers in the country for their content after their current deals end. A few years ago, Facebook blocked news links in the country in response to the then-proposed law that would require companies like Meta to pay media organizations for their content. The company unblocked news links just a few days later after it started striking deals with Australian media organizations.

According to The Age, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission believes that Google and Meta inked deals with dozens of outlets, including Guardian Australia and News Corp Australia, worth about $200 million a year. Meta is responsible for around one-third or $66 million of that total amount, meaning its decision is bound to have a huge impact on the news business in the country. And there seems to be no room for negotiation: The company made it clear in its announcement that it’s not going to enter new commercial deals for traditional news content in any of the regions where it has already removed the News tab.

Meta has not blocked news links in the aforementioned countries, however, and Facebook users can still access any that’s been posted on the social network. Publishers can also continue posting links to their stories on their official pages as usual.

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