For a number of years now, Facebook has maintained that it is not a news publisher. This despite the fact that it has a highly visible News tab on its site, and is widely used as a source of information by the general public. We mention this as now Facebook is reportedly working on a newsletter and other tools as part of its Journalism Project, according to The New York Times.
The new service and tools are specifically being designed for independent writers and journalists, the report claims, with it still said to be in the very early stages of development.
That said, it is believed that the newsletter service will include the ability for users to curate emails to send out to and manage subscribers, along with adding paid subscriptions and other means of helping to grow your amount of followers.
By our understanding, that is very much what a publishing platform does. If Facebook is indeed not a news publishing platform, it is doing a poor job of hiding it.
Shifting back to the report, the reason for the development of these tools is down to the fact that many in the publishing and journalism industries have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding these kinds of services to the mix, now offers publishers, writers and journalists an avenue to create content and reach an audience, getting paid for it in the process, and that’s definitely something that we can get behind.
That said, if Facebook does indeed intend on developing a newsletter service and other accompanying tools, it will need to monitor how they are used, with misinformation still an element that should be on its agenda.
Either way it looks like newsletters could prove critical for publishers and media in 2021 and beyond, with Twitter having also purchased a company specialising in the format, so perhaps it will also be launching its own offering on that front.