The US-based social media giant Facebook has launched its newsletter product “Bulletin”, a standalone platform for free and paid articles and podcasts that aims to rival Substack.
The new platform is “focused on empowering independent writers, helping them reach new audiences and power their businesses,” Facebook CEO Mr. Mark Zuckerberg said.
The social media giant is stepping up its business to compete in the fast-growing email newsletter trend, as high-profile journalists and writers have left media companies over the past year to strike out on their own.
Bulletin is a direct answer to the growing popularity of Substack, which is helping writers to sell email subscriptions and has lured journalists with cash advances. Other technology companies are also competing in the field, including Twitter, which acquired newsletter platform Revue.
Facebook has assured that it would not take a cut of Bulletin creators’ revenue at launch and that creator can choose their own subscription prices. It is launching the platform with a number of high-profile personalities and writers. The company also added that the articles and podcasts would also be available through the Facebook News Feed and Facebook’s News section.
The social network has had a rough relationship with the news industry, which came to a head earlier this year after a showdown with the Australian government overpaying news outlets for content.
Following the conflict, Facebook pledged to invest $1 billion in the news industry globally over the next three years. In April, the company said it would pay $5 million to recruit independent local journalists to write for its new publishing platform.
“We built Bulletin on a separate website to enable creators to grow their audience in ways that are not exclusively dependent on the Facebook platform,” it said on the new site.
Bulletin is part of Facebook’s mission to continue expanding its creator monetization tools, Mr. Zuckerberg added, “the goal here across the company is to support eventually millions of people doing creative work.”
Facebook said it was primarily launching with the US creators and it was not accepting new ones at this time. But it said the Bulletin site was available worldwide and it would look to add more international names after the beta test.