Jun 29, 2021 - Economy

Facebook launches independent publishing platform “Bulletin”

Photo: Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday unveiled the company's newest product, an independent writing platform called Bulletin.

Why it matters: It's the latest feature Facebook has built to go after independent creators. It could also help Facebook's user base stay better connected to its platform.

Details: Bulletin is a standalone feature that includes tools for journalists to write and send newsletters they can share across the web and on Facebook. It also allows journalists to build websites.

  • Speaking alongside Facebook's head of news Campbell Brown, Zuckerberg said the tool would be differentiated from other newsletter tools in that it offers writers more multimedia opportunities to connect with their audiences and more distribution opportunities across Facebook's ecosystem.
  • "What sets Bulletin apart is the integration with Facebook pages that enables you to post in a number of different ways in [Facebook's] News Feed," Zuckerberg said.
  • There will also be features that complement other new Facebook creator products, like podcasts and live audio, making it easier for audiences to subscribe and discover newsletters.
  • Zuckerberg acknowledged that unlike some newsletter platforms, Facebook will not take a cut of writers' work and it will let writers keep access to their content and lists.

Facebook debuted the new tool alongside a slew of prominent partners, including NFL host Erin Andrews, award-winning cookbook author Dorie Greenspan and organizational psychologist Adam Grant.

  • "A bunch of local newsletter writers" will also be joining the platform, Zuckerberg said. "Part of what I think we can try to do here is try to make a real investment in local news," he added.
  • As a part of the program, Facebook has paid some creators an advance to jump-start their presence on the platform, but it didn't say which creators were receiving the cash.
  • Vox Media first reported that Facebook was exploring partnerships with some creators. Axios reported in March that Facebook had been testing the product with a small group of independent writers for a few months, sources told Axios.

The big picture: The long-awaited newsletter feature brings Facebook even closer to the publishing world — an industry that for years the company tried to stay separate from. But because journalists and writers are central to the creator economy, Facebook has no choice but to lean into ways it can support them.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to say that the announcement came Tuesday — not, as the story originally read, Thursday.

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