Facebook News Takes a Bow in Europe – How Will It Impact Users and Publishers?

Lila Faulkner / Sep-04-2023
Facebook News Takes a Bow in Europe – How Will It Impact Users and Publishers?

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, startled European users by announcing that its tailored news offering, "Facebook News", will no longer be available in UK, France, Germany. Slated for discontinuation later this year, users will not lose complete access to news on the platform, but changes are forthcoming. Striking a cord of change within Meta’s growth strategy, the move signifies a substantial change in how European audiences will interact with news content on Facebook, with effects extending beyond individual news consumers to reach news publishers as well.

Initially, Facebook News was introduced as a featured section within the app, providing users with personalized news selections from trusted sources. This allowed users to stay updated on global incidents and local happenings in a singularly convenient place. With its removal, users in the UK, France, and Germany will continue to access news articles via posted links, maintaining the ability to share and comment on newsworthy events. However, the bespoke curation offered by "Facebook News" will be a noticeable absentee in the user experience. 

From Meta’s perspective, the change could be interpreted as a strategic maneuver to reconsider its relationship with news publishers. Until now, Facebook struck commercial deals with publishers to feature their content in "Facebook News," thereby supporting news outlets while delivering diversified, trustworthy content to users. The discontinuation indicates that Meta will not be forming new commercial deals for news content in Facebook News for these countries, a shift poised to impact the dynamics of news publication and sharing on Facebook. 

News publishers will keep their existing Facebook accounts and pages, but the future of product innovations for them remains uncertain. While Facebook has not explicitly stated that it would stop all collaborations with European news publishers, the lack of new commercial deals for “Facebook News” content suggests a narrowing of opportunities. The conceivable ripple effect on publishers, particularly smaller organizations that benefited from the increased exposure, adds intrigue to Meta’s announcement.

In conclusion, Meta’s unexpected decision to discontinue Facebook News in these European countries represents a significant development within the social media news sphere. While it ensures users can still access and share news, the platform's tailored news experience will undoubtedly be missed. At the same time, news publishers face an obscured future regarding Facebook’s role in sharing and promoting their content. As we wait for December to see these changes take effect, it raises questions about Meta's evolving relationship with publishers and users, and how these changes will ultimately shape the news landscape within social media.

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