Twitter is finally rolling out a way to charge for tweeting that doesn’t involve putting a Venmo link in your bio, promoting a Patreon, or using the app to search for a wealthy spouse.
On Thursday, the company announced a new feature that could change the way the app works entirely: Super Follows, which are essentially paid subscriptions for individual Twitter feeds. Users will now be able to pay for certain types of content away from others on Twitter with “Super Follows”, allowing them to charge more for various types of content. According to The Verge, which could include giving paid subscribers access to private tweet feeds, Twitter new newsletter featureor profile badges. Another feature announced Thursday, the ability for users to create and join groups called Communities, can also be used as a paywall. Both of these additions won’t roll out for a few months, and according to Verge, it’s unclear how big Twitter’s reduction in revenue will be.
This is a big change in the way Twitter works: a rather long-running and tired joke on the site has been that “this site is free,” meaning that none of its content directly costs any money. The other part of that equation is that monetizing a presence on Twitter is impossible without referring fans elsewhere, even if that’s just to pay for access to a private Twitter feed. So this is kind of a big change, as it could reshape the incentives for users to participate in the site in the first place and allow Twitter to compete directly with the crowdfunding app Patreon and similar payment tools on Facebook and YouTube.
It’s also easy to see how this could open something of a Pandora’s Box for Twitter. It has long fought to control toxic communities such as white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, and far-right trolls, all of whom could now use the app as a way to make money. Adding private feeds to subscribers could also allow subscribers to hide things like bullying campaigns behind paywalls, where such content will be accessible to a smaller group of paid followers who are unlikely to report it. to the moderators of the site. (It’s already possible to do this through direct messages, blocked accounts, and off-site coordination, but still.)
Similarly, the Communities feature sounds a lot like Facebook Groups. Facebook moved from the news feed to an emphasis on Groups in 2019, which had disastrous consequences after these groups were infested with death threats, harassment and calls for violence.
Another thing that Twitter has not clarified is whether it will allow Super Follows for sexual content, a type of content that is only subject to a handful of restrictions elsewhere on the site (such as not posting it on banner images or profile photos). Allowing it would put the site in direct competition with places like OnlyFans, though when Motherboard’s Samantha Cole asked Twitter Whether or not it will allow users to pay for pornography, the company responded without response, claiming it was “reviewing and reconsidering the incentives for our service.”
The announcement has also sparked a wave of speculation about whether or not I’m kidding. of the reporters and other types of media on whether or not their employers will allow them to charge for the tweets. It’s no secret that journalists are among the most addicted to Twitter on the planet, comprising a large percentage of advanced users that dominate the app’s feed … and therefore it’s easy to see why this is an attractive fantasy for them.
Suffice it to say that while anything that subsidizes, say, tech bloggers buying fancy aquariums It’s welcome, how big a reader’s appetite is for funding 280-character insights or how willing news organizations are to let staff stay on the sidelines is still speculative at best.
Twitter has recently launched countless features including Instagram Stories-esque fleets; newsletters; and a Clubhouse-like audio chat tool. Acquired a screen sharing app called Squad which could be of use if you decide to launch a streaming service and adtech company called CrossInstall which could help repair your notoriously broken advertising tools. All of this could be related to a failed reversal hit led by vampire hedge fund Elliott Management last March, demanding that Twitter catch up with its much more profitable competition.
According to The Verge, Twitter said during a business presentation Thursday that paid subscriptions and the Communities feature are marked “what’s next” without presenting a solid timeline for deployment. By CNBC, Twitter told analysts and investors that it expects the new features to help it reach its goal of $ 7.5 billion in annual revenue by 2023, about double the amount of money it makes now.