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Facebook Wants In on the Newsletter Craze



(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Facebook could soon offer a newsletter tool for independent writers.

According to The New York TimesThe New York Times, the social media giant could help writers build up email lists and Facebook followings, as well as facilitate paid subscriptions. It comes as a number of prominent journalists have left mainstream publications to start newsletters on Substack, a platform that supports free and paid email blasts.

But it could also help Facebook establish itself as a more legitimate source of news, the Times notes. The social network has been embroiled in a fight against misinformation, removing questionable content left and right, and cracking down on false posts from politicians, including former President Trump.

Facebook introduced a dedicated news hub in October 2019, featuring stories from well-known publishers, but it’s no match for Pages focused on riling up followers with dubious posts.

Rival Twitter has its eye on a similar offering; it acquired newsletter platform Revue this week.

It remains to be seen if writers wants to team up with Facebook on any sort of news venture. It tried Instant Articles, which served up quick-loading version of stories on the Facebook mobile app, but reaction was muted. And Facebook was found to be inflating video view data, a revelation that enraged journalists who were laid off amid a “pivot to video” based on lies. To say nothing of the privacy-related issues associated with partnering with Facebook.

Facebook hasn’t confirmed its plans yet. Campbell Brown, vice president for global news partnerships at Facebook, tells the Times the company is “building new tools to complement what journalists already find useful.”

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