Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook is reallocating resources from its Facebook News tab and newsletter platform Bulletin, as the company focuses more on the creator economy, senior executive Campbell Brown told employees in a memo, The Wall Street Journal reported.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Brown, a former journalist who leads Facebook’s global media partnerships, said the company would shift engineering and product support away from the two products as “those teams heighten their focus on building a more robust Creator economy.” The decision was made at the product level, not by the partnerships team that Ms. Brown is a part of, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Facebook News is a curated selection of news stories that users can find as a tab on the mobile app or website, similar to the Facebook Watch tab for video. Bulletin, which Facebook unveiled in June 2021, is a subscription platform meant to compete with Substack. It is aimed at supporting independent writers.
The Hill reported that, in a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for Meta, the company that owns Facebook, said it evaluates products to ensure that they are bringing the most “meaningful experiences” to users on the platform.
“We regularly evaluate the products we offer to ensure we’re focused on the most meaningful experiences for people on Facebook and the future of our business,” a Meta spokesperson said. “We remain committed to the success of creators, and are doing even more to ensure they can find audiences on Facebook and grow engaged communities there.
In October of 2019, Facebook announced that it was starting to test Facebook News, which was described as “a dedicated place for news on Facebook”, to a subset of people in the United States. The initial test showcased local original reporting from the largest major metro areas of the country, beginning with New York, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Houston, Washington D.C., Miami, Atlanta, and Boston.
In June of 2020, Facebook rejected a proposal by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to share advertising revenue with Australian news organizations, The Guardian reported. Facebook says there would “not be significant” impacts on its business if it stopped sharing news altogether.
In 2021, ABC News reported that Facebook had to walk back its block on Australian users sharing news on the site after the government agreed to make amendments to the proposed media bargaining laws that would force major tech giants to pay news outlets for their content.
No one should be surprised that Facebook is now pushing toward creator content, and away from news content, considering the platform’s history on the topic.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook has paid publishers who participate in the News program. The company signed deals worth tens of millions of dollars with news organizations such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. But, as these deals approach their expiration dates this year, Facebook began to signal to publishers and others in the industry that renewing the deals wasn’t a priority.