Facebook shuts news tab as Meta vows to stop paying Australian publishers for content

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Facebook has shut down its news page as its parent company, Meta, implements measures to minimise news content available on its services.

The news tab was inaccessible to users in Australia as of Tuesday, but the company stated that it will take several days to completely shut it down in Australia and the United States.

According to The Guardian, the Australian government and media outlets have criticised Meta, which controls Facebook and Instagram, for its decision to cease paying publishers for news material.

The Facebook news tab was inaccessible for users in Australia on Tuesday.
The Facebook news tab was inaccessible for users in Australia on Tuesday. Photo: The Australian.

More information:

What is happening to media content on Facebook this week?

Since Tuesday, Meta is “deprecating” the News Tab on Facebook, effectively removing the dedicated news tab in the Facebook menu, with the change also affecting the US. This follows Meta rolling out the change in the UK, France and Germany last year. Meta says that the number of people using Facebook News has dropped by 80 per cent in the past year and argues that “people don’t come to Facebook for news and political content’’.

Facebook banned all news from appearing on its feeds in Canada. Will that happen here?

There are grave fears that Meta will ban all news content from its Australian products such as Facebook and Instagram, after it took that extreme action in Canada – and when asked specifically to rule out such action in Australia this week, Meta declined to do so. Meta banned all news content on its platforms in Canada last year after refusing to comply with that country’s Online News Act, which is broadly equivalent in its intent to our News Media Bargaining Code. In Canada not only can media organisations not post their own content, users cannot even share news content on Meta platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Tim Duggan, who is chair of the Digital Publishers Alliance, has warned the Australian community that the same fate could befall us, and says Facebook has in the past warned local publishers that they would die out if they did not co-operate with the digital giant.

Will I still be able to see news on Meta’s sites such as Facebook?

Yes, however the dedicated news tab will disappear and changes to the Instagram and Threads algorithm are making it less likely that content deemed “political”, which includes all news, will appear in your feed. Meta has said this downgrading of political content will also be rolled out across Facebook at an unspecified later date.

Source: The Guardian and The Australian

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