Facebook has launched its own newsletter subscription service, Facebook Bulletin, attracting well-known writers, content creators and influencers like Malcolm Gladwell, Mitch Albom, Erin Andrews and others to the platform. Not to be outdone by Substack, Twitter and other newsletter subscription services, Facebook is differentiating Bulletin by offering a mix of free and premium articles, podcasts, subscriber-only groups and live audio, as well as exclusive content and features.
“The goal here is to support millions of people doing creative work. More and more independent writers are discovering ways to use their voice and make money through other avenues, similar to the ones we’re introducing here,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a call with reporters, according to The New York Times.
At launch, Facebook is highlighting these high-profile creators, influencers, publications and articles:
- Dr. Raven the Science Maven (Science and the Culture)
- Jessica Yellin (News Not Noise)
- James Hamblin (The BODY)
- Tan France (Tan France’s Real Reality)
- Wells Street by Jane Wells
- Marginal Revolution
- Xoxo Dorie by Dorie Greenspan
- Second Acts by Ron Claiborn
- “Their Voices Can Drown Out a Storm”
- “No Second Acts in American Lives? Wrong!”
- “Have We Misunderstood the Future of the Automobile?”
- “It’s All About the Money”
Media Post reports that the Bulletin will avoid writers who focus on political subjects. For now, the concentration will be on topics like sports, environment, fashion and other neutral topics.
At launch, all but two of the Bulletin’s creators are from the U.S., though the website is available around the world. Bulletin intends to add international creators when the program exits the beta launch phase.
On its website, Facebook answers some of the common questions people will ask like why is the Bulletin on a separate website and not part of the Facebook App.
“We built Bulletin on a separate website to enable creators to grow their audience in ways that are not exclusively dependent on the Facebook platform. Branding on Bulletin publications will be creator-first and readers will not need to be logged into Facebook to read free content,” Facebook says.
Some Bulletin articles and podcasts can also be found on individual creator publication pages, in Facebook News Feeds and within the News section of Facebook.
Malcolm Gladwell – Oh, MG
Malcom Gladwell is perhaps the most recognized content creator, writer and influencer on the platform. He has created a publication he is calling Oh, MG. In his first article, Gladwell explains why he is starting a newsletter:
“If you’ve arrived here, you likely discovered that I’m starting a newsletter — one I’m calling Oh, MG.
For some time, now, I’ve been looking for a place to be a little more, well, Malcolmy. Digress. Hold forth. Rant. Expand on some things that I’ve been thinking about, or writing about, or that I’m airing on my podcast, Revisionist History. Like: “Have we misunderstood the future of the automobile?” Or: “Is it possible that America’s most influential higher education ranking system is racially biased?” Or: “Is there something very wrong with The Little Mermaid?”
And also, to answer your questions.
So that’s why I’m here, on Facebook, with Oh, MG. Think of it as the direct download from my brain to yours.
If you’ve read my books, listened to my podcasts, or are simply interested in my point of view, I encourage you to subscribe. After all, it’s free.
And don’t forget to comment with your questions… you might just find that I answer them.”
Gladwell notes that it is free to subscribe. When doing so, the reader has to authorize Facebook to continue and, when approved, a disclaimer pops up saying that you give Gladwell permission to email you about possible subscription content in the future.
Platforms like Substack and Twitter (who acquired newsletter platform Revue earlier this year) take a revenue share to support their work and grow their capabilities. Currently, Substack is taking a 10% revenue share, while Revenue takes 5%. It is not clear what Facebook’s plans are, but The New York Times reports that Facebook won’t take a revenue share at launch.
However, on June 7, in a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said they company would not take a revenue share on some of its products until 2023. It is not clear if the Bulletin newsletter revenue is part of his plan.
The trend toward independent writing and editorial control continues to grow as more content creators look to control their futures and their revenue. Facebook has attracted a small but mighty group of well-known writers, creators and influencers to test out the idea, and they will likely tweak the model as they learn from the creators themselves, readers and subscribers.