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Meta to Cut Funding for News Publishers

This is the latest in a series of overhauls to Meta's social media platforms, suggesting a focus on prioritizing short-form creator-made content like TikTok.

Meta will no longer fund publishers for providing content.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Meta on Tuesday told US news partners on Facebook News that it no longer plans to fund publishers for providing content, the company confirmed to CNET on Thursday. The move, previously reported by Axios, comes in the midst of a slew of changes to Facebook and Instagram as parent company Meta overhauls its social media platforms to prioritize video and creator content and contends with revenue drops and potential layoffs.

News publishers can still have their content published to the news tab, but will no longer receive funding from Meta for providing content as a series of three-year deals with companies like CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times expire.

"A lot has changed since we signed deals three years ago to test bringing additional news links to Facebook News in the US," a Meta spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "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."

In 2019, Facebook significantly increased its investment in news, with the company spending roughly $105 million on additional news content for the Facebook News tab, plus $90 million spent on news shows for Facebook Watch. Meta spent over $20 million on a partnership with The New York Times, $10 million on The Wall Street Journal and $3 million on CNN as it sought to make Facebook a destination for browsing news, including unlocking some articles' traditional subscription paywalls, Axios reported.

The past few weeks have seen major overhauls to the Facebook and Instagram platforms as the two Meta-owned social networks prioritize short-form video content and create a feed more like that of TikTok, which Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has acknowledged as a threat to the company's revenue system.

"People have a lot of choices for how they want to spend their time, and apps like TikTok are growing very quickly," Zuckerberg said in an investor call in February.