After Meta’s revenue shrank for the first time in its history, the company has reportedly told publishers it will no longer pay for content to run in Facebook’s News Tab, according to Axios. “Most people do not come to Facebook for news, and as a business it doesn’t make sense to over-invest in areas that don’t align with user preferences,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
Facebook spent around $105 million on such deals, paying $20 million to The New York Times, $10 million to The Wall Street Journal and $3 million to CNN, according to Axios. Facebook struck the deals back in 2019 as it boosted its investment in news and even hired journalists to direct traffic to the news tab.
Facebook also promised to pay partner sites including The Guardian and The Economist for news in the UK when it launched the News Tab there late in 2020. Shortly after that, it signed a deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to pay for content in Australia, after the Australian Parliament passed a law requiring Facebook and Google to do so.
Along with Google, Facebook has taken criticism for drawing ad dollars away from dedicated news sites. That has contributed to the failure of a quarter of US news sites over the last 15 years, according to Poynter, with the professional journalism vacuum often been filled by false or misleading news on Facebook.