Facebook Inc is all set to launch its yet another audio publishing platform and newsletter tool ‘Bulletin’ to help journalists and independent writers attract an audience and make money through it with their community on social media networks.
A close competitor of Substack, this Facebook’s move is a part of the answer to the trend of paid email newsletters led by platforms like Substack. Bulletin will focus on reporters “who are often the lone voice covering a given community,” says Facebook officials.
Facebook announced a content publishing platform, in March 2021, which is officially launched now in the US. For now, people who are based in US and have iOS can only access it. For some security reasons, Facebook is only allowing public figures and known Facebook groups to create a live audio room on Bulletin. Facebook in a blog post mentioned, “select podcasts will be available to listeners in the US.” “In the coming weeks, we’ll expand the ability for more public figures and Groups to host a Live Audio Room and introduce new features for both experiences in the coming months,” Live Audio Rooms on Bulletin will be integrated with Facebook Pages and will be set up for a free self-publishing tool for independent journalists and content writers who can later send out newsletters or create their own website and make money out of same.
Initially, Facebook will prioritise reporters who plan to cover “Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian or other audiences of color,” in all the locations lacking an existing news source, says Facebook on Bulletin launch.
Community or the ones who are hosting a Live Audio Room will also get an option to select a nonprofit or fundraiser to raise support during their conversation in the room, “listeners and speakers can directly donate.” Facebook adds. For now, a maximum of 50 speakers are allowed to speak in the audio session. However, there’s no limit to the number of listeners. End number of listeners can join in the conversation at the same time on live audio room on Facebook.
“Public figures can invite friends, followers, verified public figures, or any listeners in the room to be a speaker. The host can invite speakers in advance or during the conversation,” Facebook said. One can get a notification of Live Audio Rooms in News feeds and from there the room can be joined. “When listening to a conversation, you’ll be notified when friends or followers join, too,” adds Facebook.
Facebook said users can enable the reminder while signing up for a Live Audio Room when it goes live.
There witnessed a stretched and strained relationship with the news industries in Australia, and the Australian government had paid a lot to news outlets for content. Facebook promised to invest $1 billion in the news industry globally over the next three years to cut short the conflict.
With Facebook Substack clone – Bulletin, Journalists will be able to earn additional money by publishing stories on Facebook. Facebook Bulletin will enable the writers to set their own price for the content piece they wish to sell, the company added.
Facebook also added that it would partner with the Washington-based International Center for Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and evaluate applications invited from journalists. It would give the selected journalists access to experts and services, which will eventually help them build a news business from now on. Facebook’s new Substack clone – Bulletin will help to figure out if it is helpful to writers and journalists’ community.
The initiative is praised by many renowned journalists across the globe. Emily Bell, Director of Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School, said the news industry will “have to reckon with the economic foundation of this Faustian pact,” because Facebook has been used as a tool to oppress reporters around the world and its business relies on news workers like content moderators who are “not unionized or paid well.”
On Bulletin, listeners will be given an option to enable live captions along with a “raise a hand” button. This will be a request option to join the live conversation. The Bulletin Platform will also give an option to give reactions in real-time participation. With so much of buzz around the world, it is currently unknown when Facebook plans to bring its audio service in India.