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Newsletters! Get your newsletters! Shortly after the acquisition of Revue by Twitter, Facebook announced it is launching Bulletin, a newsletter platform for creators. Newsletter platforms have increased in demand, with popular models like Substack luring major journalists away from traditional publications. For social media platforms, newsletters offer the opportunity to build creator communities and develop alternative revenue streams, with the platforms taking percentages of paid subscriptions and gaining valuable data.
What Is Facebook Bulletin?
Jacob Kastrenakes from The Verge reported that Bulletin “allows writers to publish free and paid newsletters that can be posted to the web, sent to subscribers’ inboxes and shared across Facebook.” Meanwhile, the Facebook Bulletin website explains that Bulletin is for newsletters and so much more (see graphic), with Bulletin offering the chance for people to easily subscribe to articles and podcasts from creators and connect with other subscribers. Facebook is leveraging its Facebook Pay service, which was recently made even more seamless, as the payment tool for Bulletin subscriptions.
According to Peter Kafka for Recode, “the first batch of Bulletin writers will include people covering topics like sports, fashion and the environment, as well as a group of writers covering local news.”
Facebook is being deliberate in who it recruits to write and is not opening Bulletin up widely to creators. Also important to note, Bulletin lives separately from Facebook, meaning writers aren’t at the mercy of the public’s feelings about Facebook, which can vacillate.
Why Is Facebook Introducing Bulletin?
As with Twitter and Revue, Facebook hopes that, with a robust newsletter platform, it will be able to offer a landing place for creators. Mark Zuckerberg said, “The goal here across the company is to support, eventually, millions of people doing creative work.” It’s predicted that Facebook will take a percentage of the fees creators earn from subscriptions in the future. But currently, Bulletin “writers retain full ownership of their work and subscriber list.”
Additionally, Facebook added a supplemental data policy with the creation of Bulletin, noting that Facebook will have access to the first-party data of creators and subscribers, including device and behavioral information. It’s possible Facebook is hoping to make up some ground lost with the recent Apple iOS 14 updates by acquiring incremental first-party data through Bulletin.
How Does Facebook Bulletin Impact Advertisers?
Facebook is always keen to get in on whatever action is happening across social media platforms, whether it’s social commerce or, in this case, the growth of creator communities. How it will drive eyeballs to Facebook, which could potentially benefit advertisers, is unknown, as is whether or not there will be advertising and branding opportunities on Bulletin itself. For now, it’s a wait and see for advertisers, with the likelihood that the growth of newsletters, like short-form videos in recent years, will create high-profile creators, demand and advertiser opportunities.
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