Meta announced today that it will remove the News tab from Facebook’s bookmarks section in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany in early December. In a press release, Meta stated, “As a company, we have to focus our time and resources on things people tell us they want to see more of on the platform, including short form video.”
The News tab was first launched in 2019 as a dedicated section for news articles and headlines within the Facebook app. Its removal in Europe follows Meta’s announcement in July that it would no longer pay U.S. publishers to supply content for Facebook News.
According to Meta, news currently makes up less than 3% of global content users see in their Facebook feeds. After the European rollout in December, the News tab will only remain available in the U.S. and Australia.
The changes affecting the Facebook News feature will not otherwise impact Meta’s products and services in these countries. People will still be able to view links to news articles on Facebook.
European 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 way any other individual or organization can.
While news articles will still appear in users’ main feeds, UK, France and Germany publishers will lose direct access to the News tab. Meta says it will honor all existing deals with publishers through December but will not sign any new deals or develop new news products for those markets going forward.
The decision comes after Facebook and Instagram blocked news content and links in Canada. The new Online News Act requires that social media companies make monetary deals with news organizations to distribute links from those news outlets on online services.
The move, on the other hand, comes amid increasing regulatory scrutiny in Europe over Meta’s data privacy practices. Also, Meta will reportedly offer an ad-free paid subscription in the region.