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Facebook (FB) Unveils Newsletter Platform Bulletin for Writers

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Facebook recently unveiled its own newsletter called Bulletin, which is an independent platform with free and paid articles and podcast. Email newsletters have gained popularity of late, and Facebook aims to participate in the competition against the likes of Substack.

The idea is that writers can earn through subscriptions to their work and potentially create additional revenue streams while relying on Facebook to engage their community. Users can purchase newsletter subscriptions from Bulletin's website.

On Bulletin, creators will get the opportunity to determine the paid subscription price by themselves. Attracting creators can lead to more time users spend on Facebook. At this time, writers cannot sign up on themselves as the service is still in beta.

Facebook has hired dozens of journalists from categories such as sports, science, health and finance including sportscaster, Erin Andrews, author Malcolm Gladwell and British fashion designer, Tan France.

Facebook will not charge commission from writers at the early stage. Bulletin writers will receive the full amount of their subscription revenues and will be able to take their content and email subscribers when moving to another platform.

Moreover, writers will also be entitled to distribute articles on the news-only tab Facebook News, and tools are planned to allow audio to be distributed in addition to the articles they write.

This is expected to boost user engagement and performance of Facebook’s shares, which have returned 28.8% in the year-to-date period compared with the Zacks Internet - Services’ and the S&P 500’s rally of 33.8% and 15%, respectively.

Year to Date Performance

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Facebook’s Efforts to Boost News Content & Partnerships

Markedly, since 2018, Facebook has invested $600 million to support journalism and plans to further invest $1 billion in news over the next three years.

In May, Facebook launched the next stage for Facebook News, its dedicated News tab in Germany. The dedicated tab provides a means for Facebook to showcase a curated set of news reports, which will ideally reduce the distribution of misinformation on the platform.

The company had rolled out News tab for users in the U.K. in January, expanding internationally after witnessing positive results with the initial roll-out of the tab in the United States in 2019.

As of 2020, Pew Research Center reported that 55% American adults go to social media for news. More specifically, over 71% of adults were active on Facebook, and about 52% sourced at least some news from the social platform.

In January, Facebook announced deals with media organizations in the U.K. including the Guardian, Telegraph Media Group, Financial Times, Daily Mail Group and Sky News, and it also has an agreement with News Corp.

News content on Facebook came into sharp focus in February, when this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company cut off local publishers in Australia due to disagreement over the government of Australia’s proposed Media Bargaining Code, which would have forced the company to share revenues with publishers for use of their content.

At the same time, Facebook sought to establish financial agreements with publishers such as News Corporation (NWSA - Free Report) in Australia in a bid to avoid further regulatory action, while also enabling the company to explore alternative ways to showcase news content in a more collaborative and engaging way.

That connectivity can also increase reliance on its platform and tools among traditional media players, further solidifying Facebook's place as a key source of news and information.

Facebook’s News Focus Increases Competitive Prowess

The rapid introduction and expansion of news services from tech giants like Facebook, Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) , Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google and Apple has intensified competition in the digital as well as traditional news market.

Seeing the success that writers are having on the platform, Twitter acquired newsletter platform Revue in January, in an attempt to keep them in the Twitter ecosystem. It also developed a Super Follows feature to enable creators and publishers to monetize premium content.

Last year, Google pledged to pay $1 billion over three years to partners for content in the Google News Showcase. In February, the search giant reached a three-year pay deal with News Corp. in Australia. The latter already has a deal with Apple to provide access to journalism and related content for a potential audience of millions globally.

Apple News is still only available in a few countries but is accessed by 29% of iPhone users in the United States and 22% in the U.K. Apple News launched personalized and curated local news in select cities in the United States. Additionally, the company rolled out Apple News+ audio with professionally narrated versions of feature stories available to Apple News+ subscribers.

Nonetheless, launching Bulletin newsletter with known writers and content creators is expected to bolster Facebook’s reputation as a responsible platform in an era of unreliable sources besides its regulatory concerns.

Recently, Facebook became the fifth American company to hit a market value of $1 trillion, following Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google 's parent company Alphabet.

Moreover, Facebook’s News Tab is set to arrive soon in France, India and Brazil although no launch dates have been specified.

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