Facebook is the second major social platform to announce it wants to help journalists and publishers monetize their content.
The company is launching a platform to let writers self-publish their work in various formats, including email newsletters. The unnamed service will also include a tool to allow small publishers to charge for newsletter subscriptions and website content.
The announcement follows an announcement by Twitter of a pending service called Super Follows. Using Super Follows, publishers would be able to charge for various content forms, including email subscriptions.
Observers have noted that many journalists have left their organizations, voluntarily or otherwise, but are eager to continue writing and reporting.
A large part of Facebook’s initiative is aimed at “supporting independent local journalists who are often the lone voice covering a given community,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s vice president, global news partnerships, and Anthea Watson Strong, .product manager for news wrote in a blog post, according to Axios.
Still to be revealed is whether Facebook and Twitter will demand a cut of this subscription revenue, and who will own the email lists.
Moreover, independent writers may need help in marketing paid subscriptions: It is not an easy undertaking even for established organizations.
For its part, Twitter hopes to provide “monetary incentive models for creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience,” according to a presentation by Kayvon Beykpour, product lead, and Dantley Davis, head of design and research for Twitter, at Twitter’s #TWTRAnalystDay in February.
The response has been largely favorable.“By offering a subscription-based option with Super Follows, Twitter is leaning into a concept that seasoned email marketers have known for years — consumers want great content, and they’re willing to go the extra mile to ensure they get it,” says Patrick Gillooly, marketing director at Constant Contact.