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Facebook News in France: opportunity or threat?

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Following the United States, Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom Meta announced in a communiqué the launch of its Facebook News feature in France from Tuesday 15 February. The new interface will take the form of an integrated tab within the platform to aggregate content from French news media. Several hundred news sites will be automatically indexed on the interface in France.

How will it work?

This agreement provides for a two-year payment to French daily press publishers for the use of their content. Facebook News will be accessible via a new tab in the Facebook application. When clicking on this tab, the user will access a news feed that will present editorial content in the form of thumbnails, with the title of the article, an image and the name of the media.

It will not be possible to read any content on the Facebook page itself: these thumbnails will contain links to the media’s website. Therefore, it will not be possible to read a paid article for free.

Finally, some publishers will be integrated without being remunerated (they will only be able to rely on an additional highlighting of their contents distributed on the platform), while others will benefit from a remuneration. This is notably the case for Le Figaro, 20 Minutes, La Croix, Le Parisien, Les Echos, Le Journal du Dimanche, La Dépêche du Midi, Le Dauphiné Libéré, Le Télégramme, La Provence, La Voix du Nord, Nice-Matin and Sud Ouest.

More traffic and visibility

According to Meta, in the United States, the Facebook News site, which launched in 2020, now accounts for 30% of the traffic generated by Facebook for partner media. Furthermore, 88% of clicks on indexed articles would be made by Internet users who were not used to visiting the media’s articles. The traffic generated by Facebook News would therefore be incremental.

The group says it wants through this interface, to meet the expectations of Internet users for better visibility of quality information on Facebook and to support the development of the media.

An opportunity that should not blind us to the need for vigilance

While it would seem that the arrival of Facebook News is an opportunity for the French media, it should not be forgotten that its launch comes at a time when the social network is regularly accused of being a channel for the propagation of false information via content from dubious sources.



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