Beginning in the first few days of December, Meta stated that it will stop supporting Facebook News in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. The dominant social media company stated that it was a part of its "ongoing effort to better align our investments to our products and services people value the most."
For those who are unfamiliar, Facebook News is a publisher-curated news segment that was first released by Meta in 2019 and can be found in its own dedicated tab within the main Facebook interface. Prior to expanding internationally, it was initially released in the U.S. market, then in the U.K., Germany, Australia, and France. The company had planned to bring the service to Brazil and India, but it seems those launches never fully materialized.
Local and international news that is pertinent to each market is surfaced by Facebook News. In its first form, suggested items were decided by an algorithm, and a different "top stories" section was compiled by people. However, Meta said last year that it was making the entire section automated.
The announcement is mostly in line with Meta's work on other online news sites. Although news sharing has been a significant component of Facebook practically from the beginning, it is evident that it has been given less priority in recent years for a variety of reasons. This includes the polarizing character of certain tales, especially those with a political theme, which prompted the business to shift further toward the so-called creator economy. This included rebranding its news stream as "feed" as well.
The larger issue here, though, is that there has been a wider industrial and political backlash against the function that Big Tech performs in news dissemination. As a result, new laws were passed in nations like Australia requiring internet platforms to pay content creators for their work. This strategy appears to have worked because major tech corporations afterwards struck contracts with several publications.
Similar law was recently established in Canada as part of the Online News Act, but this prompted Meta to start preventing Canadians from seeing news publisher content. This prompted others to wonder why Meta couldn't strike arrangements with Canadian retailers that were as favorable as those it had with Australian ones, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized Facebook for its activities.
Similar regulations are being implemented elsewhere, notably in the United States, through various legal avenues.The EU Copyright Directive, meantime, has prompted Meta and Google to enter a number of license agreements over the past few years in Europe.
More generally, publishers across the board have noted a decline in Facebook referral traffic in recent months, supporting Meta's long-stated goal of eschewing news. In fact, the business has previously claimed that less than 3% of the information users view in their feeds is news, and with today's statement on Facebook News in Europe, it kept to that estimate.
Meta is keen to emphasize that, in the case of the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, it is just eliminating the links to publishers' pages and not banning them.