Twitter has revealed plans for a ‘super follow’ feature that will allow its most prolific and famous users the opportunity to charge their followers for exclusive content that normal Twitter accounts would not be able to see.
The move comes at a time when many of the platform’s most followed accounts are looking beyond the platform to monetize their fan bases, whether through sites like OnlyFans, Twitch, YouTube, Patreon, or Substack, depending on what to do.
The new Twitter feature will be designed to allow users to charge for additional and exclusive material, which could include newsletters, videos, offers and exclusive discounts for subscribers.
The model would be based on a monthly subscription fee that would grant access to additional content.
The Guardian reports that speaking at an investor presentation, the social media giant’s CEO Jack Dorsey said: “Why don’t we start with why people don’t believe in us?
“It all comes down to three criticisms: we are slow, we are not innovative and we are not trusted.”
This, then, is an attempt to catch up and show that the company is willing to keep up with other platforms that are now firmly established on subscription-based tiers.
It also allows Twitter to pursue other sources of revenue as they fight to break the duopoly on advertising that Facebook and Google have.
The company said in a statement: “Exploring audience funding opportunities like Super Follows will allow creators and publishers to receive direct support from their audience and incentivize them to continue creating content that their audience likes.”
The Super Follows feature is not yet available, but it will be rolled out in the coming months and is one of several new ideas that Twitter has come up with.
There’s also Revue, which will allow people to post free or paid newsletters for their audience. Alongside that is Twitter Spaces, which seeks to compete against Clubhouse and allow users to engage in audio chats (you know, like chat rooms).
The latter is currently in private beta testing, which means that it is not yet available to the general Twitter audience.
The updates are likely to divide social media users, used to using the free service, and of course, the onus will fall on those high-profile accounts who choose to use the service to make their content attractive enough to so people want to part with their cash to access it.
People are already divided about it, with one social media user commenting: “It will be a paywall for influencers to warm up for nothing but words. At best, it will help people who don’t. They can handle Patreon, but I’m on the fence about it. “
The news has also sparked a #RIPTwitter hashtag.