The Demise of Facebook News: A Shift in Meta’s Strategy

The Demise of Facebook News: A Shift in Meta’s Strategy

The once highly anticipated Facebook News tab, which launched in 2019 with lucrative content deals for publishers, is now being discontinued by Meta in the US and Australia. This move signifies a major shift in Meta’s strategy, as it moves away from news content and towards investing in the Creator economy. This decision comes on the heels of Meta’s focus shift in 2022 and the departure of Campbell Brown, former head of news partnerships, from the company last October.

Despite Meta’s initial intentions of supporting journalism and democracy through Facebook News, the platform’s usage of news content has been on the decline. Meta claims that news makes up less than 3 percent of what users see in their Facebook feed, and is not a significant part of the overall user experience. As a result, Meta has decided to end its commercial deals with news publishers and will no longer introduce new products specifically for news publishers in the future.

The cessation of Facebook’s licensing deals has significant implications for publishers in Australia, as they will no longer receive the $70 million per year that was paid out by Facebook. This move comes after the three-year deals made with outlets such as Sky News Australia, News Corp, Seven, Nine, and The Guardian, following the implementation of Australia’s News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code. The expiration of these deals marks the end of an era for news publishers in Australia and raises questions about the future of their digital presence.

In place of news content, Meta will now focus its resources on content that users have expressed a desire to see more of on the platform, such as short form video. Publishers are encouraged to continue posting links on their own pages and utilize products like Reels and ads to drive traffic to their websites outside of Facebook. This new direction marks a significant departure from Facebook’s original vision of supporting journalism and indicates a broader shift towards user-generated content and video.

The discontinuation of Facebook News and Meta’s shift in strategy raises larger questions about the role of social media platforms in supporting journalism and news content. As platforms like Facebook prioritize user-generated content and short form video, traditional news outlets may find themselves marginalized and struggling to maintain their digital presence. This trend highlights the evolving landscape of digital media and the challenges faced by publishers in adapting to these changes.

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