Facebook has 31 other newsletter editors on Bulletin – TechCrunch
At the end of last month, Facebook announced Bulletin, its newsletter platform. Unlike Substack, Medium, and other competitors, Bulletin selects its authors to organize a more controlled platform, with stars ranging from Mitch Albom, whose book Tuesdays with Morrie continues to break hearts in seventh grade English classes at Queer Eye’s Tan France, which has taught a generation of young people how to perfect their French tuck. Today, Facebook announced its first new wave of newsletter writers after its initial beta launch.
This next wave of writers includes Malala Yousafzai, 24, Nobel Peace Prize winner, writing about “big debates and small moments; Maria Celeste, a Puerto Rican journalist who will write the Bulletin’s first bulletin in Spanish; and Nedra Tawwab, a relationship therapist with millions of social media followers.
Bulletin offers a wide range of free content and comes with minimal Facebook branding – it’s hosted on its own separate website, not the Facebook app. But newsletter editors can choose what content to put behind a paywall, to which readers purchase access, of course, through Facebook Pay. Newsletter subscribers can also get access to subscriber-only Facebook groups, live audio rooms, and podcasts. Bulletin therefore helps Facebook channel subscribers to other products under its growing brand. But as Bulletin grows as an organized, invite-only platform for public figures, more exclusive than Raya, other platforms have struggled with the ethics of content moderation.
“We respect the work of writers and want to be clear that anyone who partners with us will have complete editorial independence,” Facebook wrote in a blog post after the launch of the Bulletin. And, after reading the Bulletin hosted by comedian Greg Mania hemorrhoids trial, this statement seems correct.
But when we talk about “editorial independence”, we are not really talking about the possibility of publishing an essay called “My appointment with the rectal surgeon”. With this statement, the company seemed to be nodding its head at the controversial “hands off” approach Substack has taken with its platform. Medium also faced its own cultural account – the platform used to host internal publications like GEN and Elemental, which were written and edited by skilled journalists, but a pivot in the company’s vision effectively stop editorial operations. So Facebook’s investment in the (a few) journalists and writers platform comes in direct opposition to Substack and Medium’s focus on user-generated content.
Facebook isn’t the only major social media platform taking an interest in newsletters – in January, Twitter acquired the Revue newsletter platform, but aside from a few quiet updates, it seems the attention Twitter is focusing elsewhere for the time being.