Facebook recruits dozens of writers and launches newsletters with new Bulletin product


By Brian Stelter, CNN Business

A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can register for free here.

Facebook is rolling out its new newsletter product, called Bulletin on Tuesday, according to sources involved in the initiative.

Bulletin is the Facebook version of Substack: a way to create and distribute free and paid newsletters. FB has recruited dozens and dozens of writers, the sources said, in categories such as sports, science, health and finance.

According to Recode’s Peter Kafka, who wrote about the plan earlier this month, “Facebook is deliberately trying to avoid writers and political topics (read: contention and popular sources) on Bulletin. Substack already has more than enough.

The first wave of Bulletin editors and their newsletters will be presented on Tuesday. Participants are paid to launch their newsletters in the hope that they will build up paid fan bases over time, in an extended version of Substack’s “Pro” program. Some writers have already accumulated columns and ideas for weeks. But they are largely in the dark about the big picture, and some have told me they are anxious to find out who else is involved.

One appealing aspect, as Kafka wrote, is Facebook’s “massive reach, with 2.85 billion users worldwide, and its ability to target and segment people who might be receptive to reading and reading. payment for a newsletter covering subjects that interest them “.

>> Axios reporter Sara Fischer recently wrote that Bulletin is an example of Big Tech “struggling to create and acquire new tools that will help them compete with smaller upstarts for the attention of creators. individual… “

>> Twitter is also promoting its newsletter efforts, through the acquisition of Revue earlier this year and an agreement with Eric Holthaus to provide a weather service …

>> Callum Jones writes for The Times of London: “Email is back and the social media giants are taking notice …”

Facebook takes victory over the FTC

Facebook won a key battle, but not the war, in federal court on Monday. Judge dismissed FTC’s antitrust complaint against FB saying “the agency failed to provide evidence for its claim that the social media giant has a monopoly on social media,” Brian Fung reported for CNN Business.

But judge James Boasberg also signaled that “the problems with the FTC lawsuit could be resolved if the agency files an amended complaint.” The FTC has said it is “determining” the next steps. Lawmakers on both sides have said antitrust reform is urgently needed.

>> “In a separate decision,” Fung wrote, “Boasberg entirely dismissed a similar antitrust lawsuit against Facebook brought by dozens of state governments, saying they waited too long to challenge Facebook’s Instagram acquisitions and WhatsApp, which were finalized in 2012 and 2014, respectively… “

Facebook joins the $ 1,000 billion club

In the immediate wake of Boasberg’s dismissal of the FTC deal, Facebook “has joined the ranks of companies valued at over $ 1 trillion at today’s market close,” noted Mitchell Clark of The Verge. . This makes Facebook “the fifth American company to surpass the feat, joining Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google’s parent Alphabet,” wrote Jessica Menton of USA Today …

>> Emily Birnbaum, lobbying / politico tech influence journalist tweeted: “So weird and savage that I’ve been covering the world’s best tech companies for years and have never seen the government punish, regulate, or even significantly change the practices of any of them. It’s crazy how power works!

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