Facebook puts news on the back burner as it continues to push video and creators

Facebook puts news on the back burner as it continues to push video and creators

Facebook is only 18 but it’s smack-bang in the middle of a mid-life crisis, with declining user numbers and TikTok having its Gen Z lunch. In response, the company is trying to push more video content from creators into users’ feeds and is now shifting resources away from more text-focused products like its News Tab and Bulletin newsletter platforms.

As reported by the first The Wall Street Journal, Facebook exec Campbell Brown informed employees of this shift in priorities in a recent memo. Brown said Meta-owned Facebook’s engineering and product teams will spend less time on news and bulletins in the future “to increase their focus on building a stronger creator economy.”

This change in priority has been confirmed by independently edgeA spokesperson for Meta said WSJ The company is always evaluating where to allocate resources and its teams are “committed to the success of creators and are doing more to ensure they can find audiences on Facebook and grow the communities they engage with.”

Facebook launched News in 2019, as did paying companies The New York Times And The Washington Post to combine their contents. The news tab combined human-sourced stories with algorithmic recommendations, while contracts with news outlets were worth millions of dollars. It is reported that Facebook is not too keen on renewing these contracts, although the company has not yet made any official announcement on the matter.

Facebook Bulletin, meanwhile, launched last year as a competitor to newsletter giant Substack, and the company attracted some big names to its launch, such as best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell. But since then the product doesn’t seem to have made much of a splash, with Facebook instead emphasizing its slow and “meaningful” development. In a blog post last year, one of the few hard figures the company provided about the size of the newsletter was that “half of the creators of the newsletter have more than 1,000 free email subscribers, many with more than 5,000 or 10,000” — small numbers considering Facebook’s huge size.

News of this shift in focus should come as no surprise. In June, edge Facebook reports on changes it plans to make to its main algorithm; Making users’ feeds TikTok-lite by focusing on creators’ visual content rather than friends’ updates. In such a video-heavy world, it makes sense that newsletters and news in general will be put on the back burner.

Additional reporting by Alex Heath.

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