Facebook seems to have concluded that hosting legacy news on its platform is more trouble than its worth.
The company has announced that it will shut down the News Tab for users in the UK, France, and Germany, in what it described as “part of an ongoing effort to better align our investments to our products and services people value the most.”
Perhaps more significantly, Facebook said it would not enter new deals and had no plans to roll out new features and products for news publishers. The company’s licensing fees are worth billions of dollars to the legacy corporate media.
After nearly half a decade of attacking Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg (usually for not censoring enough “hate” or “disinformation”) the legacy media may now be witnessing a counteroffensive by the tech giant.
Facebook recently proved that it suffers little to no impact from the absence of content from legacy media companies on its platform, after it banned news links for Canadian users. The ban came after Canadian lawmakers, at the behest of media lobbyists, passed a bill that would have forced Facebook and Google (which also shut down news links in the country) to funnel money to media corporations.
The ban has not hurt Facebook at all — analysis from Reuters found that the company suffered no drop in usage among Canadian users after removing news links. Big Tech does not need the legacy media to survive — although there’s no telling if the reverse is true.
Collusion between Big Tech and Big Media is critical to the worldwide system of online censorship established by western elites after 2016, which is perhaps why despite successive defeats, media lobbyists in the U.S. are still trying to revive the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), a law that would perform a similar function to the Canadian bill.
While political censorship on Facebook is unlikely to end overnight, the company’s relationship with the media industry, one of the primary forces that pushed it towards censorship over the past half-decade, seems to be at a low point.
Given that the legacy media is responsible for hoaxes like Russiagate, as well as the narrative that peaceful Trump supporters are “insurrectionists,” it’s unlikely that conservatives will shed any tears if Facebook and other tech companies permanently turn their back on the industry.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election. Follow him on Twitter @AllumBokhari.
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