Facebook hopes to release Bulletin, its take on a Substack-like newsletter subscription product, toward the end of June. According to Recode, the company plans to offer both free and paid versions of the platform. Many of the first newsletters Facebook intends to publish will come from writers who focus on sports, fashion and the environment. They’ll also be a local news angle in line with the company’s Journalism Project.
And while the company will use Facebook to market Bulletin, Recode says the platform won’t live on the social media network. When you tap on a Bulletin link, it will open in a separate browser window. The reason for this is twofold, according to people who spoke to the outlet about the project. The first is that Facebook reportedly hopes to establish a separate brand for Bulletin. The second is that the company wants to avoid paying app store commissions to Apple and Google. For writers, Facebook is reportedly pitching the platform as a way to tap into an audience that is nearly 2.9 billion people strong and to take advantage of its ability to target specific individuals to help them find paying readers.
Facebook’s newsletter offering will be built upon a free self-publishing tool, with a range of style and layout options to help creators establish their own, unique content style.
Using this as the base, Facebook will then offer various distribution and presentation options, including:
An integration with Facebook Pages to enable publishing across various multimedia formats including photos, live videos and stories
The ability to create Facebook Groups and nurture a community of readers
Features to help audiences easily discover new content and writers, and in turn help those creators build direct relationships with their audience
Insights for writers to understand how content is performing
Monetization tools to build successful individual websites and businesses, starting with subscriptions
Accelerator services to help creators come together and learn best practices
“We want to do more to support the independent journalists and experts who are building businesses and audiences online,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president for global news partnerships, told The New York Times when news of the platform first came out. “We’re exploring ways to help them benefit from the news products we’ve built, like Facebook News and subscriptions, while also building new tools to complement what journalists already find useful.”