Facebook takes on Substack with $5m fund for indie writers in US

Last month, Facebook officially announced its previously rumored newsletter platform similar to competing services like Substack and Ghost. Getting writers to make the switch to a new platform may take some effort, however, and so Facebook is back with another announcement: a $5 million fund specifically for independent writers located in the United States.

According to Facebook, the funds are earmarked for 'local journalists' who want to move their work to the company's new publishing platform. The company is accepting applications from interested writers over the next few weeks, noting that some people who apply may get 'further consideration for an opportunity' involving a multi-year deal and monetization tools, among other things.

For their part, the writers who are accepted will need to regularly publish work that applies to a local community while engaging with readers using tools like Groups. The core requirements for potentially writing on Facebook's platform include being an independent writer who lives in the US and covers public interest local news.

Facebook notes that it plans to prioritize writers who will 'extensively' cover audiences of color, locations that don't already get coverage from an existing media company, and writers who don't already work for a different news publisher.

Writers who submit an application can expect to get updates in June; check out the full Facebook Journalism Project page for all the details. The company notes that its new platform related to this project will arrive in the US 'in the coming months.'