Facebook Will Remove Its News Tab in Australia

Facebook Will Remove Its News Tab in Australia

In another blow to the already struggling publishing industry, Meta has decided to remove its news tab from Facebook in April for Australian users.  

According to the social media giant, this is part of an “ongoing effort to better align our investments to our products and services people value the most”.

Yeah, righto. 

Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland has already come in hot calling Meta’s decision to no longer pay for news content a “dereliction” of its commitment to the sustainability of the Australian news media. 

“The decision removes a significant source of revenue for Australian news media businesses. Australian news publishers deserve fair compensation for the content they provide,” she said. 

I could not agree more. 

She continues: “The Australian Government is committed to the News Media Bargaining Code and is seeking advice from Treasury and the ACCC on next steps.”

Rowland said they will now work through all available options under the News Media Bargaining Code.

“The Government will continue to engage with news publishers and platforms through this process,” she said. 

“The Albanese Government is committed to promoting a strong, sustainable and diverse media sector given its vital importance to our democracy and social cohesion.”

The Australian News Media Bargaining Code was introduced in 2020 when the federal government asked the ACCC to develop a mandatory code of conduct to address bargaining power imbalances between Australian news media businesses and digital platforms, specifically Google and Facebook.

In reaction to that, Facebook removed all news services and even emergency services and charities from its site, and it was eventually revealed that they did that on purpose. Good times.

Meta noted that the number of people using Facebook News has dropped by 80 per cent in 2023, and news makes up less than 3 per cent of what people around the world see in their Facebook feed. 

Look, sure, it might be true, but that’s because my Facebook feed is now getting pumped with ads, pages I don’t follow, marketplace listings, content from people I don’t know and the occasional wedding photo album. 

As someone who used Facebook for news heavily a little over three years ago, I have singlehandedly seen the “depreciation” of the Facebook feed. 

Now that Facebook doesn’t care about supporting Australian news publications, it will be focusing on short-form videos. This is not at all surprising since the social media giant’s biggest competitor is TikTok.

Meta has reassured us that users will be able to view links to news articles on Facebook. 

“News publishers will continue to have access to their Facebook accounts and Pages, where they can post links to their stories and direct people to their websites, in the same way any other individual or organisation can,” the company said. 

“News organisations can also still leverage products like Reels and our ads system to reach broader audiences and drive people to their website, where they keep 100 per cent of the revenue derived from outbound links on Facebook.”

Thanks Facebook!

The U.S. will also say goodbye to its news tab too in April. Last September, Meta axed the News tab for the UK, France and Germany

We’ll update this story as it develops. 

Image: Gizmodo Australia

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