Facebook will discontinue the News tab in the US and Australia in early April

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Facebook parent company Meta reported on Thursday that the News tab will be rolled out in the US and Australia in early April. It will also no longer enter into new deals with media companies for publishing news or offering 'products specifically for news publishers'.

Shutting down the News tab is part of Meta's strategy to 'make investments better off' vote for our products and services,” the company writes. According to Meta, the tab was underused. The number of News users in the US and Australia is said to have fallen by eighty percent last year.

The change has no further consequences for users, Meta says. They can still read news articles from the US and Australia via shared links on their Facebook homepage. News organizations will retain their accounts and can continue to post their own messages. In addition, there will be no changes to Meta's existing agreements with publishers in Australia. In the US, Meta no longer has ongoing deals with news publishers. In December, the tab was already removed in the UK, Germany and France. The function has never been available in the Benelux.

In Australia, the government and several news publishers have been critical of Meta's choice not to enter into new agreements to Reuters. Since 2021, there has been a law, the so-called News media bargaining code, that allows the Australian government to appoint a mediator who determines how much large technology companies pay for news links. Removing the News tab and the lack of new deals would hurt news publishers and benefit Meta, which has been against the media law since its inception.

“Meta uses its enormous market power to to refuse to negotiate,” said Michael Miller, chairman of media conglomerate News Corp Australasia. He also points out that the change will have a “direct impact on the viability of Australia's many small and regional publishers.”