Facebook is taking on Substack and other newsletter platforms with its own, free tool called Bulletin.
Announced by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg via Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms on Tuesday, Bulletin is a set of publishing and subscription tools aimed at independent writers in the U.S.
Bulletin offers each user their own standalone website with a customizable name, logo and color palette, and tools enabling them to embed media into their posts and style them as they please. On the distribution side, the most interesting bit is integration with Facebook Pages, and the fact that the work Bulletin writers do will be eligible for distribution in Facebook News.
“The goal here across the company is to support people making a living doing creative work,” Zuckerberg said in the audio call announcing the news. “We’re trying to elevate and support those writers and creators who are already producing high-quality work…[I think Bulletin] can be another great tool for writers and creators to have in their toolbox,” he said.
Initially, Facebook is launching Bulletin for a small group of creators. The full list of writers participating at launch includes Malcolm Gladwell, Jane Wells, Erin Andrews and Adam Gran.
The look and feel of Bulletin is similar to Substack and Twitter-owned Revue, both popular platforms that lets anyone start a paid newsletter. But unlike Substack and Revue, which take a small cut from subscriptions, Facebook won’t take any revenue cut from Bulletin writers.
Handing over your precious content to Facebook and its massive ecosystem of services can be a scary proposition. But Facebook claims that writers can choose to move to different platforms in the future, and they’re going to own both their content and the subscriber lists.
You cannot currently sign up as a writer for Bulletin, but Facebook says it plans to add more users in the “coming weeks.”