Meta plans to “deprecate” the News tab in Facebook’s bookmarks section in the UK, France, and Germany. That’s typically been company speak for removing a feature. The changes are supposed to go into effect in early December, according to Meta.
“As a company, we have to focus our time and resources on things people tell us they want to see more of on the platform, including short form video,” the company said in a press release today.
This is the latest action Facebook has taken to make news a lower priority on its platform. It’s also another step toward mimicking shortform video content on TikTok.
“As a company, we have to focus our time and resources on things people tell us they want to see more of on the platform, including short form video.”
Meta announced in July that it would quit paying US publishers to put their content in Facebook’s News tab. Last year, the company also said that its engineering and product teams would be more focused on video content from creators rather than on its News tab.
Facebook News was only available in the US, UK, Germany, France, and Australia. After the changes go into effect in Europe in December, it’ll only be left in the US and Australia. News accounts for less than 3 percent of what users around the world see in their Facebook feed, according to Meta.
People will still be able to see links to news articles on their feeds, and news publishers in Europe will still have access to their accounts and pages after the changes go into effect in December. Meta also seems to be encouraging news organizations to pivot to shortform video, saying in its release today that they “can also still leverage products like Reels and our ads system to reach broader audiences and drive people to their website.”
The company also says it will honor “obligations under all existing Facebook News deals” with publishers in the UK, France, and Germany until December. But it won’t sign onto any new deals for content on Facebook News or offer new products to news publishers in those countries in the future.
Meta’s also reportedly exploring ad-free paid subscriptions in Europe. That could be one way to get around regulators’ concerns in the EU about data collection and privacy. The company didn’t immediately respond to a press inquiry from The Verge.