Google did not announce this change, so publishers, like us at Search Engine Land, have continued to use it. Using the news meta keywords tag will not help Google understand your news content anymore since Google ignores it the same way they ignore the normal meta keywords tag.
Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller confirmed this, saying, “It looks like we dropped support for this around the time when we removed it from the help center.” He added, “Keeping it on pages is fine, we just don’t use it for Google News anymore.”
Months after Google announced it, only 5 percent of publishers actually used it.
If you are a publisher, and you use it for your news content, you can safely stop using it going forward. This will be my first story here in years where I do not use the news meta keyword tag.