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[Discussion] Facebook Shifts Focus: News Tab to Be Phased Out in US and Australia

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End of an Era for Facebook News

Facebook has declared its decision to phase out the Facebook News feature, a specialized section dedicated to news content, in the United States and Australia starting early April 2024. This move follows the company's earlier decision to discontinue Facebook News in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany in the previous year. Despite the change, Facebook ensures users in these regions will continue to have access to news through their feed, and publishers can still manage their accounts and Pages, sharing news links as usual.

Focusing on User Preferences

The decision to discontinue Facebook News stems from Meta's strategic realignment towards enhancing features that resonate more with users, such as short-form video content. A significant decline in the usage of Facebook News in Australia and the US, with over an 80% drop last year, underscores the shift in user behavior. Facebook highlights that news and political content constitute less than 3% of the global feed, emphasizing that the platform's core experience revolves around connecting users with their interests and communities.

Impact on Publishers and Future Strategies

The termination of Facebook News will not affect Meta's array of products and services in the affected countries. News publishers retain the ability to engage with their audience on Facebook, leveraging tools like Reels and the platform's advertising system to expand reach and direct traffic to their websites. Moving forward, Meta will not pursue new commercial agreements specifically for traditional news content in these countries nor introduce dedicated Facebook products for news publishers.

Commitment to Reliable Information

Meta reaffirms its dedication to disseminating trustworthy information across its platforms. The company's partnership with over 90 independent fact-checking organizations globally, operating in more than 60 languages, reflects its ongoing efforts to combat misinformation. Despite phasing out Facebook News, Meta will continue investing over $150 million in initiatives supporting fact-checking and the fight against misinformation, maintaining its commitment to a well-informed user community.

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