Going ahead, Facebook and Instagram will rely significantly on AI-curated creator material, and the News Tab initiative that Facebook initiated a few years ago does not seem to be a major component of that. According to Axios, Facebook’s parent company Meta has informed publishers that it would no longer pay for the material aggregated on the news tab. This confirms previous claims.
According to the report, Meta spent about $105 million on three-year news content deals (plus another $90 million on news videos), including $10 million for the Wall Street Journal, $20 million for the New York Times, and $3 million for CNN in deals that sometimes included unlocked access to paywalled content. The Wall Street Journal earlier claimed that the growth of laws compelling Facebook and other internet firms to pay for news was to blame for the company’s dwindling excitement, and quoted a source today who said the sponsored news push was an “experiment that eventually failed.”
While the News tab will remain — you can read more about how it works right here – the whole venture joins the ranks of podcasts, Novi cryptocurrency, the “Campus” revival of traditional Facebook, and the HouseParty clone Bonfire among initiatives that have come and gone in recent years.
According to a statement sent to Axios by an unnamed Facebook official, “a lot has changed since we inked arrangements three years ago to try adding more news links to Facebook News in the United States.” Most people do not come to Facebook for news, and it does not make sense for a corporation to over-invest in areas that do not correspond with customer demand.”
When Facebook launched the News tab in 2019, it touted the potential of a section with daily top stories “chosen by a team of journalists” that could avoid the pitfalls of previous News Feed experiments that sometimes boosted fake news, Instant Articles that publishers didn’t like, or its infamous “pivot to video.”