Adding to their ever-expanding arsenal of media products—Facebook announced Bulletin, a newsletter platform, earlier this month. In its current iteration, it is a standalone platform for free and paid articles and podcasts, in which users can subscribe to their favorite writers. The service is clearly modeled after (and meant to rival) Substack.
An independent platform
Perhaps to circumvent Facebook’s problematic relationship with the news industry, Bulletin is built on a separate platform from Facebook. The website states that this is to “enable creators to grow their audience in ways that are not exclusively dependent on the Facebook platform.” In line with this reasoning, you don’t need a Facebook account to subscribe to the newsletters available on Bulletin. That said, the platform is still mapped onto existing Facebook’s infrastructure—Facebook Pay is used for the purchase of both premium subscriptions and to join subscriber-only groups and live audio rooms.
As we’ve discussed, email newsletters are a powerful force for content creators and brands alike. It seems Facebook is looking to present a viable option for the many journalists and writers who have recently left media companies. In addition to Substack (which has effectively attracted writers using cash advances), other tech companies, including Twitter, which acquired newsletter platform Revue, are also eager to participate.
Facebook has taken a curated approach
As it stands, though, Bulletin is not accessible to anyone who wants to play. Every writer currently on Facebook’s Bulletin was selected to contribute. With an initial slate of writers including Malcolm Gladwell and Erin Andrews—Bulletin notes that its current offering is U.S.-centric—“we will look to include more international creators after our beta program launch.”
Potential for Bulletin to go “hands-off”?
Competitors like Substack, on the other hand, take a less interventionist approach to content moderation—anyone can start a newsletter. It remains to be seen whether the exclusive approach taken by Facebook will work out.
In the meantime, we’ll keep you updated as Bulletin incorporates more international creators and on any changes that happen following the platform’s beta launch. Likewise, 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.