Meta now summarizes news stories rather than linking to sites

Meta AI AH

Imagine being the main benefactor of an industry and ultimately being its downfall. Well, Meta and Google don’t have to strain themselves to imagine this. Both companies are driving a knife into the news industry’s heart. Meta recently stopped showing news links, and it’s now summarizing news articles.

If this sounds familiar, Google recently pulled a move like this with its AI Overviews. When you do a Google search, rather than seeing a succession of links to websites, you’ll see a summary of what you searched for. So, rather than navigating to websites and contributing to their ad revenue, you have a fast track to getting the information.

Meta summarizes news articles

While Meta claims to not be a primary source of news, many companies that rely on it for traffic would beg to differ. In fact, the company’s platforms are a notable source of news, and a ton of publications owe much of their ad revenue to them. Back in 2023, when Meta pulled out of Canada, 36 news organizations shuttered.

So, this is why the company’s latest move is a pretty shady one. Recently, Meta stopped showing links to news websites. That’s bad enough, but what makes things worse is the fact that Meta’s AI will actually summarize those very same news articles that it’s not linking to. When you use Meta AI to ask for the latest news headlines, you’ll see an AI-generated summary of the top news headlines. So, you won’t be led directly to the news sites themselves.

Meta, you can copy my homework, but don’t make it too obvious

The situation gets even worse! Not only is this tool swiping data from news organizations, but it’s not great at varying the results. The Washington Post did some tests of this tool and the company found that it would reproduce sentences similar to those in the articles. In some cases, it would directly reproduce sentences word-for-word. So, the news articles aren’t good enough to navigate people to them, but they’re good enough for Meta to scrape and regurgitate.

We can’t say that Meta completely does away with the news article links, however. There’s a View sources button below the results. So, let’s give Meta a hand for doing the bare minimum.

However, the question remains, after having the crucial information served to them on a silver platter, how likely are people to go to the full article? Take 100 people and have them search for a news story. Then, take the number of people who don’t opt to go to the website and you get a rough estimate of the percentage of how much these sites’ ad revenue will drop.

Does Meta care? Well, does Google care about what it’s doing to the news industry? The answer to both is “not in the slightest!” Right now, all we can do is hope for some sort of divine intervention because there’s nothing to stop these companies from doing what they want.

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