Meta Pulls Payments Plug on News Outlets Publishing on Facebook

facebook, meta, news tab, publishers, creators, revenue

Meta is phasing out exclusive deals with news publishers on Facebook that will cost some outlets tens of millions of dollars as the social media giant shifts away from its dedicated news tab strategy and focuses on the creator economy. 

News organizations such as The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post and others signed deals with Facebook over the past few years. Deals signed for more than $100 million are affected by Meta’s new decision, an unnamed source with insider information told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Friday (July 29).

While the Facebook News tab will remain a feature, payments to U.S. publishers will be phased out. Deals in other countries — the U.K., France, Germany and Australia — will remain in place.

See also: Facebook Pivots From News Coverage to Creator Economy

Meta told employees earlier this month that it was planning to change how it uses resources for its Facebook News tab and Bulletin newsletter, intending to focus more on the creator economy, PYMNTS reported.

Facebook News curates stories in the news tab and was launched in 2019. Bulletin rolled out in June 2021 as a subscription platform to support independent writers, similar to Substack.

“A lot has changed since we signed deals three years ago to test bringing additional news links to Facebook News in the U.S.,” a Facebook spokeswoman, according to the WSJ. “Most people do not come to Facebook for news, and as a business it doesn’t make sense to overinvest in areas that don’t align with user preferences.” 

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Facebook looked at its move into news as an experiment that didn’t work out monetarily, a source told the WSJ.

Meta’s quarterly sales declined for the first time this week as founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues moves to focus on video content and overhaul operations. Even with a spate of new initiatives on tap, Zuckerberg told investors that a fast turnaround wasn’t likely, PYMNTS reported.