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RIP News tab: ‘People don’t come to Facebook for news and political content’

Social media giant Facebook is getting rid of its dedicated news tab during an election year when access to trustworthy news is especially high stakes.

RIP News tab: ‘People don’t come to Facebook for news and political content’
[Source photo: artisteer/iStock/Getty Images, Meta]

Facebook users in America will soon lose access to the dedicated news tab, the company has announced. In early April, Facebook will eliminate the tab, which was a feed dedicated to news stories, in both the United States and Australia. In a blog post, Facebook said the News tab is being depreciated because “people don’t come to Facebook for news and political content.”

“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 company explained. “The number of people using Facebook News in Australia and the U.S. has dropped by over 80% last year . . . news makes up less than 3% of what people around the world see in their Facebook feed, and is a small part of the Facebook experience for the vast majority of people.”

The company previously eliminated the News tab in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany in 2023.

Facebook’s decision to eliminate its dedicated News tab comes after years of conflict with traditional media outlets that alleged Facebook does not pay them as much as their news content is worth. This led to some governments passing laws, such as those in Canada and Australia, that required Facebook and other tech companies to pay fees to news publishers. Facebook has also struggled in recent years to parse misinformation from legitimate news—and it often faces criticism from users on both the left and right when it tries to do so.

Facebook isn’t the only major tech platform that appears to be thinking of jettisoning its legacy news tab. Recently, Google has been testing removing its News tab from search results. “We’re testing different ways to show filters on Search and as a result, a small subset of users were temporarily unable to access some of them,” Google told Nieman Lab in February before later clarifying that “The News filter is available to users now and we do not have plans to remove it.”

As for Facebook, the company pointed out that users will still be able to share and read news articles posted in their feeds and they will still be able to access the Facebook Pages of news organizations.

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Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com More

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