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Meta Shifts Away From News As Facebook Publisher Referrals Drop 50%

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It’s quite clear that Meta was not joking when it spoke about walking away from the world of news.

A new report published by Pressgazette based on Chartbeat and Similarweb data is shedding light on how the popular app’s referral traffic leading to publisher sites has dropped 50% YoY.

The stats came as 792 different news and media websites were studied and it was concluded that they were making use of third-party data from tracking sources to give insights about traffic referred to the Facebook app. And the results stand clear on this front.

As mentioned by media outlet Press Gazette, combined traffic from Facebook to sites offering media and news was studied to reveal a massive 58% decline when compared to data from the past six years. Moreover, seeing traffic coming from the Facebook app fall by 50% in the past year also indicates that it might now be slowing down, anytime soon.

The information also sheds light on how Facebook is driving less than 25% of all visits that it possessed in 2018. This was down from 30% to just 7%, clearly proving the point.

It’s also true to mention how small players in the industry are being slammed in a hard manner with referrals from Facebook dropping massively YoY.

Slowly but surely, Meta is trying to reduce how news content is shown online with the firm bidding farewell to news projects as a whole that used to be its main support source provided to news publishers by the end of last year.

Meta says it was searching for means to limit the reach of content that was politically themed across apps so that users would be happier to see positive content as that’s what they want. This also means giving rise to options where users can choose to opt-in via default.

It’s a slow but great shift to the world of updates that pop up via recommendations from AI and most of them have to do with video clips. This means Meta can use AI to limit posts linked to news.

This has a lot to do with the fact that it is not keen on focusing on matters like user engagement which have to do with likes and even comments as the latest source for attaining reach. Now, more time is being spent on huge roles that dictate what an algorithm wants and what is shown to the masses.

Remember, with time, people are not engaging a lot with applications. Due to this, the firm seems to be relying more on entertainment and ensuring users are fixed to screens through updates generated via video.

This also provides more benefit as no more debates and arguments linked to the world of politics are promoted.

As mentioned by the company’s CEO in 2021, the community of Meta spoke about how they wished to see less and less politics and violence through their feeds. It was sad to dampen the entire user experience in general.

This was more evident when we saw Capitol riots ensue when Zuckerberg was ordered to testify in front of Congress and provide responses about what role it played in terms of his apps instigating and promoting the violence.

But that was not the first that that the Meta CEO was called by lawmakers to give replies on a political front. It was the start of Meta’s exploration of getting rid of news and all sorts of politics as a whole and also keeping a firm distance from these kinds of concerns.

This was service as a big hit to publishers and also gave rise to massive shifts. For so long, Facebook was said to be a prompter of disinformation. Did we mention how a third of the population in the US got news through the app online so as one can imagine, the role it played was serious.

This might be why so many Russians and Chinese tend to target this app as their top choice so voting mindsets are influenced in different places via the app’s huge reach.

But if the platform is not displaying news as a whole, it makes things so much more difficult. It also reduced scrutiny for a while and gave rise to content where less negativity in headlines was getting promoted.

If Meta could find ways to better user engagement without such headaches, the app is certainly going to be proud of the efforts of Zuckerberg and family.

The take-home message here is clear. Meta might feel the need to step back from the world of news and any kind of political-themed content if it wishes to steer clear of trouble. While the matter is not a moment of celebration for publishers of news content online, it might mean that social media is going to be a more positive area where users can thrive and benefit.

Read next: Instagram Teases New Creator Revenue Program Called ‘Spring Bonus’ As Adam Mosseri Compares App To Other Arch Rivals
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