Meta’s axing of Facebook news will ‘only further reduce trust’ of consumers

An Australian industry body has again taken aim at Meta after the company officially shut down Facebook News this week.

As announced last month, Meta axed the tab in an “ongoing effort to better align [their] investments”, as well as not continue contracts under the News Media Bargaining Code.

The move was widely slammed by media bosses and leaders of major Australian publishers, as well as industry body, Free TV Australia, which has again slammed Meta’s decision

“Meta’s actions are disappointing but not surprising and will only further reduce trust in a platform already best known for lack of action on mis and disinformation,” Free TV’s CEO, Bridget Fair, told Mumbrella on Wednesday.

“Meta is a gatekeeper for social media access to news, and Australians rely on being able to find professional trusted news from Free TV broadcasters and others when using Meta platforms.

“Unfortunately this action by Meta will only make it harder for consumers to be fully informed on the important issues that affect us all.”

In a separate statement released shortly just weeks after the announcement was made, a Meta spokesperson insisted via a blog post that users can still access news through ‘Feed’ on Facebook and that publishers can still post content directing traffic to their respective websites.

“There is no change to publishers’ ability to use Facebook and Instagram, they can continue to benefit from our free tools and products which they can voluntarily use should they want to,” the post reads.

“Ultimately, we’re focused on building the best experiences for our users and ensuring the strength of our core business, this includes our ongoing commitment to keep misinformation and harmful content off our services.”

Other notable names who criticised Meta’s decision included CEO and MD at Seven West Media, James Warburton, who said: “The case has not only been made but proven and we welcome Ministers Jones and Rowland’s commitment to the News Media Bargaining Code. We will work constructively with the ACCC and Treasury to ensure their designation.”

Nine Entertainment’s CEO, Mike Sneesby, also said the News Media Bargaining Code provides an “appropriate framework” for a fair value exchange, and called on Meta to “negotiate in good faith around the fair compensation for that value exchange”.


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