Meta Closes Its Substack Competitor After Less Than Two Years

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Meta will shut down its newsletter platform, Bulletin, “early 2023,” according to an emailed statement The edge by spokesman Morgan White. A report of The New York Times says Meta emailed creators on the platform letting them know that the service would be gone.

Meta announced Bulletin in June 2021, presenting it as a platform “focused on empowering independent writers, helping them reach new audiences and empowering their businesses.” The idea was similar to Substack; readers could subscribe to newsletters from writers they liked, and writers could charge for their work and other benefits. Some of the writers enrolled in the service (Meta manually added people; there was no application process) included Malcolm Gladwell, Tan France and a host of independent creators. Meta promised it wouldn’t cut back on subscriptions until 2023.

Since then, there have been signs that the platform was not particularly popular. Late last year, Meta released a report saying that there were “more than 115 publications” on the service and that more than half of the creators had “more than 1,000 free email subscribers.” Earlier this year, the company told its employees it was shifting its focus from things like news and bulletin and would instead focus on “building a more robust Creator economy.” (I think it meant an economy specifically for) video creators; Bulletin would also be intended for ‘makers’, where the word occurs 11 times in Meta’s announcement message.)

Meta says it doesn’t give up on writers entirely. According to White, “As this off-platform product itself ends, we remain committed to supporting the success and growth of these and other Creators on our platform.” The company also says Bulletin made it “learn about the relationship between creators and their audiences and how to better support them in building their community on Facebook.” Given the current focus, I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes to recommending writers post roles rather than newsletters.

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