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Facebook Killing Hard-To-Find News Tab Because It Says Users Don’t Care About News

Facebook plans to “deprecate” its News tab for users in the United States and Australia by April, according to a confusingly worded announcement published Thursday night. What does that mean? As best we can tell, it means Facebook doesn’t want anyone to use the platform for news anymore and will be killing its dedicated News tab.

“In early April 2024, we will deprecate Facebook News—a dedicated tab in the bookmarks section on Facebook that spotlights news—in the US and Australia. This follows our September 2023 announcement that we deprecated Facebook News in the UK, France and Germany last year,” the unsigned announcement reads.

Facebook insists users don’t use the social media site for news anyway, claiming that just 3% of what users see globally is news articles.

“The number of people using Facebook News in Australia and the U.S. has dropped by over 80% last year. We know that people don’t come to Facebook for news and political content—they come to connect with people and discover new opportunities, passions and interests,” the announcement continues.

Why is Facebook saying they’ll “deprecate” the news, a word that seems like an odd choice? Your guess is as good as ours. Typically, most Americans probably understand the word deprecate as expressing disapproval. Other common definitions include “disparage or belittle.”

But Facebook seems to use the term “deprecate” as a synonym for de-prioritize, though it’s not clear why its use in that way would warrant a press announcement. The News tab was already pretty damn de-prioritized if you look at where it shows up already.

I took the screenshot below to show just how “deprecated” the News tab already is compared with all the other tabs. I had to zoom out on my browser’s perspective to even show the News tab without scrolling down. That part circled in red down there? That’s the News tab.

A screenshot of Facebook as it exists today, with the News tab circled in red.
Screenshot: Facebook

And that prime placement might suggest Facebook users don’t necessarily dislike news. Perhaps they just doesn’t know where to find it.

The decision to kill the Facebook News tab comes after other Meta properties like Instagram and Threads have made it explicitly clear they don’t want to be in the news business. Instagram head Adam Mosseri has said since the introduction of Threads last year that it’s not a place for news.

Facebook stressed in its announcement on Thursday that news outlets will still be able to share their content on the platform and users will still be allowed to share any news article they like in their own feeds. Facebook also noted they’re still committed to fact-checking claims on the site.

“This does not impact our commitment to connecting people to reliable information on our platforms. We work with third-party fact-checkers—certified through accreditation bodies like the non-partisan International Fact-Checking Network—who review and rate viral misinformation on our apps,” Facebook said.

“We have built the largest global fact-checking network of any platform by partnering with more than 90 independent fact-checking organizations around the world who review content in more than 60 languages,” the announcement continued.

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, didn’t immediately respond to questions emailed Thursday night. Gizmodo will update this post if we hear back.

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