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Meta drops Facebook News tab for US and Australian users

March 1, 2024

Meta said it would remove the news section for Facebook users in Australia and the US in order to hone its resources, such as short form videos. People weren't visiting the site to read the news, Meta said.

A Facebook logo is seen on a mobile device screen, with a Meta logo in the background in this photo illustration
Meta said people didn't come to Facebook to read the news or for political content Image: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/picture alliance

Meta said Thursday that it would remove the Facebook News tab, which provides users with access to news stories, in Australia and the US.

The Facebook-parent company said in a blog post that it "will not enter into new commercial deals for traditional news content in these countries and will not offer new Facebook products specifically for news publishers."

The number of people using Facebook News in Australia and the US has dropped by over 80%, Meta said. "People don't come to Facebook for news and political content," the post read.

People will still be able to view the news in their Facebook feed in both countries, it added.

Meta already announced last year that it would not be renewing commercial contracts with news publishers in France, Germany and the UK when they expire.

Australia pushes back against decision

The Australian government quickly pushed back, saying it was seeking advice about the next steps from the Treasury and the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

"Meta's decision to no longer pay for news content in a number of jurisdictions represents a dereliction of its commitment to the sustainability of Australian news media," Communications Minister Michelle Rowland and Assistant Treasurer
Stephen Jones said in a joint statement.

"The decision removes a significant source of revenue for Australian news media businesses. Australian news publishers deserve fair compensation for the content they provide," the statement read.

Meta said the decision to shutter the Facebook News tab was "part of an ongoing effort to better align our investments to our products and services people value the most."

It said they were focusing their time and resources on more of the things people want to see on the platform, "including short form video."

rm/jsi (Reuters, AFP)