Facebook News Comes to Germany

Post by Megan Flottorp

Following an announcement made in March that it would add its Facebook News stand-alone tab and bookmark in Germany, and the social network recently followed through on its word. On May 18th, Facebook News began rolling out in Germany with over 100 editorial brands, including Axel Springer and its Bild, Business Insider and Welt, as well as Südwestdeutsche Medienholding and its Stuttgarter Nachrichten and Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Following the feature’s success, which debuted in the U.S. in October 2019, Facebook News was also added in the U.K. in January and Australia in February. So, what will it mean for the German market?


Facebook News invests in German news organizations

The social network said it would make substantial investments in the news ecosystem in Germany and pay publishers and media for access to more of their content beyond what is already posted on its platform. This is part of a larger initiative where Facebook has cooperated with more than 2,600 publishers worldwide and invested hundreds of millions of dollars via the Facebook Journalism Project.

This plan provides $600 million toward supporting the news industry since 2018 and at least $1 billion more earmarked over the next three years—currently, there no paywall for Facebook News in Germany.


Curated and personalized content for users

For now, users in Germany will see the top headlines and stories of the day alongside personalized news based on their interests and what they are following, reading, and sharing. Topics are organized under section heads such as business, entertainment, health/science/technology, and sports. Users also have the option to control the articles, publishers, and topics they do and do not want to see.


Platform relevancy and implication for marketers

Of course, in addition to investing in and providing news, this move is clearly an attempt to keep users engaged for longer on the platform and continue evolving the role Facebook plays in our media consumption. That said, Facebook does legitimately seem to be trying to increase the value of its product.

As our CEO Remco Livain explained on Twitter, “The introduction of Facebook News in Germany will provide a nice mix of user-generated content and professional media. It also means that users don’t have to worry about whether or not the content is ‘real’ or good, or if they’re looking at fake news.

This could mean that more German native speakers use Facebook differently, and there is no doubt that it has the potential to spark “better” discussion and create more conversation starters.”


Any downsides?

That said, no action by a tech company goes unscrutinized, and there has been criticism leveled. As Remco points out, “this feature has been called out for potentially giving Facebook the ability to control certain media, and what is shared. For now, though, I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt. It is good to have this open platform, where people can use a community they are already a part of to share knowledge and benefit from local and national perspectives.”


Looking forward

Along with the substantial investment provided by Facebook’s Journalism Project, hopefully, this all means users will have the chance to benefit from a more diverse set of informed voices in one convenient place — boosting the amount and quality of engagement and discussion on the platform.

We will keep you posted as more analysis is available regarding how Facebook News impacts user behavior in Germany and beyond. In the meantime,  if you’d like to stay up to date on current social media trends and growth marketing hacks, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for the latest digital marketing news.

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