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Tech News & Podcast | Africa

Facebook to Scrap News Tab Feature

In a move signaling Meta’s continued shift away from news and politics, the company has announced the discontinuation of the Facebook News feature for users in the U.S. and Australia, following its closure in the U.K., France, and Germany last year.

Introduced in 2019, the News tab served as a curated platform for national and international headlines from various news organizations, including local publications.

Although the News tab will no longer be available, users can still access news articles through shared links, and news organizations can continue to post and promote their content on Facebook.

This decision aligns with Meta’s ongoing efforts to reduce the presence of news and political content on its platforms, prompted by criticism over misinformation and concerns about political polarization.

Meta spokesperson Dani Lever emphasized that while the change affects the system’s recommendations, users retain control over their content preferences. The company assured that its fact-checking network and measures against misinformation remain unaffected.

However, misinformation remains a challenge, especially with upcoming political events like elections. Sarah Kreps, a tech policy expert, suggests that Meta’s distancing from politics aims to prevent the platform from becoming embroiled in controversies.

Facebook’s Impact on News Consumption

Media analyst Rick Edmonds notes the dwindling traffic from Facebook to news websites over the years, urging news organizations to diversify their audience acquisition strategies.

Despite the decline in Facebook News usage, social media remains a significant news source for many. According to a Pew Research study, half of U.S. adults occasionally get news from social platforms, with Facebook being the primary choice for three in 10 adults.

The move follows Instagram’s decision to limit the recommendation of political content, reflecting Meta’s broader strategy across its platforms. While users can opt out of this filter, concerns arise regarding awareness and transparency regarding such changes.

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