Meta Ends Facebook News Tab in US, Australia

In early April, Facebook users in the US and Australia will notice the News tab gradually disappearing. As part of Meta’s efforts to focus its resources on the products and services its users lean towards, it is phasing out the News tab found in the platform’s bookmarks section. This comes after the company removed the News tab in the UK, France, and Germany in early December 2023 to prioritize other popular features like short form videos.

Meta confirms that the usage of the News tab in the US and Australia dropped by 80 percent in the previous year. It also contributes less than three percent to the overall Facebook experience, as users rarely visit Facebook for news and political content, but rather to connect with individuals and discover new interests.

When the News tab ceases to exist in Australia, Meta also plans to discontinue payments to Australian publishers once their current contracts end. In response to a proposed law a few years ago that would compel tech giants like Meta to pay for news content, Facebook briefly blocked news links in Australia. The ban was lifted after a few days when Meta started forming agreements with Australian media outlets.

It has been reported by The Age that Google and Meta have made numerous agreements, including with Guardian Australia and News Corp Australia, amounting to approximately $200 million annually. Meta’s share amounts to about $66 million, indicating its decision will significantly impact the Australian news industry. The company stated clearly that it will not venture into new commercial agreements for traditional news content in any region where the News tab has been removed.

Despite no longer featuring the News tab in several countries, Meta has not imposed a ban on news links, and Facebook users can still find any posted on the platform. Publishers also maintain the ability to share their content on their official Facebook pages.