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An internet without friction and frustration

What we know so far about Twitter’s upcoming subscription service.

[Editors note: We are republishing an article by Monojoy Bhattacharjee that dives into the new updates from Twitter. This piece was originally published on What’s New in Publishing.]

There’s a model for a better internet. Members get clean, fast-loading sites without ads while publishers make more money.

Twitter previously confirmed, a few months ago, that the social media platform was exploring a paid subscription model

At that time, CEO Jack Dorsey mentioned the bar is “really high” for asking Twitter users to pay for using the service, but he revealed the San Francisco-based company was indeed in the “very, very early phases of exploring” more ways to profit from the platform

The wheels on this exploration have now started to spin faster. 

Twitter has been working towards diversifying its platform away from ads all year, introducing Super Follows—accounts that you want to financially support in exchange for some exclusive perks—and testing a paid “Undo Send” feature. 

It recently acquired newsletter service Revue as well. The company also plans to integrate Nuzzel, a personalized daily news service by Scroll, into its own application.

The company has a strong motivation to explore alternative revenue streams, since its main source of income, advertising, is under attack. Earlier this month, Apple rolled out an update for iPhones and iPads that enabled a feature called “app tracking transparency”, which requires apps to secure consent from users before profiling them based on their activity across multiple apps.

Alex Hern, Technology editor for the Guardian

Earlier this month, Twitter acquired Scroll, the $5-per-month subscription service. Tony Haile, the former CEO of Scroll who is now on the product team at Twitter, confirmed that Scroll would “integrate into a broader Twitter subscription later in the year.”

App researcher Jane Manchun Wong tweeted recently that she’s unearthed more details about what it will be called and how much it will cost. 

Twitter Blue, she says, will cost $2.99 per month, and will include paid features like Undo Tweets, organizing tweets into Collections and Bookmark Collections aka “folders in bookmark”.

Here’s a sneak preview of the features Wong discovered:

“Twitter is also working on tiered subscription pricing model, with one tier having more paid features than the other,” Wong added. “For example, users on higher-priced tiers could enjoy premium experiences, such as clutter-free news reading experience.”

How would this subscription model work?

According to Tony, the mission given by Twitter is simple: take Scroll and scale it so that everyone who uses Twitter can experience “an internet without friction and frustration.”

“Twitter exists to serve the public conversation. Journalism is the mitochondria of that conversation,” Tony explained further. “For every other platform, journalism is dispensable. Twitter is *the only* large platform whose core success is intertwined with a sustainable journalism ecosystem.”

Twitter hasn’t commented on these new revelations about its upcoming subscription service, but as The Verge observed, “the company doesn’t usually confirm or otherwise comment on Wong’s typically accurate discoveries of new features before they launch.”

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

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