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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook will soon begin testing partnerships with a small group of independent writers for its new publishing platform, sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: The platform, which includes tools for journalists to build actual websites, in addition to newsletters, will be tested with a small group of writers, some of whom Facebook plans to pay to help get the tools off the ground.

Details: The publishing platform, which has yet to be officially named, is free-to-use, and will be integrated with Facebook Pages, sources say.

  • The Pages integration will allow writers, journalists, and other types of professional experts to publish content outside of text, like live videos and "Stories" status updates.
  • In time, Facebook plans to build tools within the platform that allow writers to monetize their websites and newsletters with subscriptions, and possibly other forms of revenue down the line.
  • The platform is meant to help writers create an audience community that is loyal and engaged. Facebook will allow writers to create Groups for their products on the Facebook, and will provide writers with metrics about how content is performing.

Be smart: Beginning around four years ago, Facebook began investing in incubator programs, products and events that are geared towards helping news companies, especially at the local level, build sustainable revenue streams.

  • It also created a separate feature called the "News Tab" as a dedicated space for news on Facebook where it has paid partnerships with many established news companies.
  • Now, it's trying to help find ways individual journalists can thrive as creators.

The big picture: The pandemic has prompted many high-profile journalists to leaving newsrooms to launch their own newsletters or websites. Now, tech companies are getting in on the trend.

  • Twitter acquired Revue, a newsletter platform for writers and publishers, in January, and has already begun integrating its newsletter platform into its main product. It recently announced a new feature that allows users to charge their followers for more content via a payment tool called "Super Follows."
  • LinkedIn, which is home to one of the largest communities of professionals on the internet, also plans to launch a creator program, that would work closely with the company's editorial arm, made up of many former journalists.

Go deeper: Pandemic spurs journalists to go it alone

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
53 mins ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.

2 hours ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.