Why is Facebook no longer supporting news sharing on the Platform?

Why is Facebook no longer supporting news sharing on the Platform?

Analysis by Dave Lee, Bloomberg

A few years ago, I was invited to a special meeting that involved Facebook. It was in the early days of the company's drive to showcase high-quality news content.

The purpose of the meeting was to convince us to post more content directly on the platform and not just on the websites of our respective organizations. Facebook had created several tools to do this and promised that its algorithm would give us a valuable audience.

A few years later, Facebook decided to pay our salaries as well. The company doled out money from news organizations so they could hire staff and create custom videos to put on Facebook. But that didn't work either - the content, in general, wasn't that compelling (I'm allowed to say this because I was involved in creating some of it). Another initiative, a format to help news articles load faster on Facebook, was also eventually abandoned.

This was the culmination of Facebook's efforts to attract the news business. Today, she wants little to do with him. As noted by Axios, Facebook news pages are no longer receiving algorithmic support. Meta has discontinued the special Facebook tab for news content in the US, UK and more, and the company said openly that it would not prioritize news in Threads.

In Canada, things are even more extreme: In August, Meta began blocking links to news content in protest of an absurd law that requires the company to pay fees for sending audiences to news websites. Meta has warned it will take similar steps in California if similar legislation goes into effect. Meta backed off threats to block news in Australia, instead making deals directly with publishers, avoiding government coercion. Canadian law does not offer a middle ground; California likely won't either.

The Company's relationship with the news business has deteriorated over the past few years.

So now Meta has decided that enough is enough. It's not that news isn't allowed — except in Canada — but that Meta doesn't think it's in its best interest to support news organizations the way it once did. Spending money on news education is not money well spent. The company feels that it has no obligation to support the business models of a struggling industry.

According to data from Similarweb, traffic from Facebook to sites such as the Sun, Business Insider and the Guardian has fallen by around 80% year-on-year – a devastating drop. Now, publishers in Canada are realizing what was glaringly obvious – news outlets need Facebook traffic far more than Facebook needs news content.

It's indisputable that Facebook and Instagram are two vital platforms when it comes to everyday people discovering important things happening in the world around them. When people say they will always find important news, social media is likely to do the job. In this, the Meta can be more of an ally than an enemy.