Facebook launched a newsletter subscription service on Tuesday in an attempt to lure influential writers to its platform as more creators diverge from traditional publications and become independent.
To launch the service called Bulletin, Facebook recruited dozens of writers from various categories – including sports, entertainment, science, and health – and prepaid them to get their readers to the Facebook platform for months. Authors include New York writer Malcolm Gladwell, author Mitch Albom, and organizational psychologist Adam Grant. Facebook plans to expand the program and work with more writers over time.
“The goal here is to support millions of people in their creative work,” said Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, in a conference call with reporters.
Those who are part of Bulletin can share their texts with subscribers via email and use the wide reach of the Facebook platform to build their personal fan base. Mr Zuckerberg said he also wants Bulletin to be a place for journalists to promote their podcasts and audio projects, ideally using Facebook’s recently launched audio tools.
The new service is part of a newsletter revival in the media industry. While newsletters aren’t new, the recent growth of newsletter-focused startups like Substack and Revue has renewed interest in the form. Mainstream publishers like The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times are also experimenting with newsletter products to attract and retain readers.
Mr Zuckerberg has long said that Facebook is there to “give everyone a voice” and he has closely watched the rise of upstarts like Substack, who give individuals the tools and payment infrastructure to grow their own followers through E – Build and enlarge mail newsletters.
After overseeing Substack’s growth and progress, Mr. Zuckerberg directed his lieutenants to develop a competing product earlier this year, the New York Times reported. Twitter also sees opportunities in newsletters and bought Revue in January.
Facebook is soliciting authors by not cutting subscription fees at launch, the company said. Substack needs 10 percent and Revue 5 percent. Facebook didn’t say when and what it will charge creators in the future.
Bulletin articles and podcasts will initially be available on each creator’s publication page, on the Facebook news feed, and in the “News” section of Facebook.