Facebook launches Bulletin, its new Substack competitor

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When you really think about it, Facebook doesn’t have any original ideas, except when it comes to taking things other people have already done and using them to collect personal information. Facebook is just corporate MySpace ( so without the sparkly bits) and every seemingly original idea the service has had was either paid for (Instagram, WhatsApp, the Oculus system) or stolen borrowed from its competitors.

A new Bulletin from Facebook

Pictured: Facebook’s development process

Bulletin is one of the latter. Like pretty much everything Snapchat (or Clubhouse, or TikTok, or anyone) does, Facebook’s taken someone else’s idea and created its own version of it. Bulletin is Substack, but under the control of Facebook so all of that lovely new information (about your news-reading habits, naturally) goes flowing in to the Overlord AI that we’re sure Mark Zuckerberg is building somewhere in his volcano lair.

Substack, if you’re not aware, is a subscription based newsletter service producing some of the best independent journalism on the planet right now. Facebook’s version… doesn’t do any of this yet, but the hope is obviously there that Bulletin sees similar success.

As with other similar services, Bulletin plans to offer the ability to send out free and paid-for newsletters that will be built by creators on the service. According to Mark Zuckerberg, “The goal here across the company is to support eventually millions of people doing creative work.” We’re got no doubt that they’ll find some way to hoover up analytics and include advertising some time soon too.

But the social network is offering quite a deal to potential creators. While it’s not yet possible to sign up — there are a few creators signed but the platform isn’t accepting any more just yet — at launch the company won’t be taking any fees from creators (for a while). The work produced and the subscriber lists created will also belong to the creators, rather than Facebook. But we suspect that the social network will want a peek at that information before it says it belongs to you.

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Brett writes for Stuff's digital platform and edits Stuff's print magazine, in between reading science fiction and every Batman comic he can get his hands on.

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