Twitter has revealed plans for a ‘super follow’ feature which will allow its more prolific and famous users the chance to charge their followers for exclusive content regular Twitter accounts wouldn’t be allowed to see.
The move comes at a time when many of the platform’s most-followed accounts are looking beyond the platform to monetise their fanbases, be that through sites such as Only Fans, Twitch, YouTube, Patreon or Substack depending on what they do.
Twitter’s own new feature will be designed to let users charge for extra, exclusive material, which could include subscriber-only newsletters, videos, deals and discounts.
The model would be based on a monthly subscription fee which would grant access to the extra content.
Forbes reports that speaking at an investor presentation, the social media giant’s chief executive Jack Dorsey said: “Why don’t we start with why folks don’t believe in us.
“It comes down to three critiques: we’re slow, we’re not innovative, and we’re not trusted.”
This, then, is an attempt to play catch-up, and show the company is willing to keep pace with other platforms that are now firmly established based on subscription-based tiers.
It also allows Twitter to look at other income sources as they struggle to break the duopoly over advertising held by Facebook and Google.
The company said in a statement: “Exploring audience funding opportunities like Super Follows will allow creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience and will incentivize them to continue creating content that their audience loves.”
The Super Follows function is not available yet, but will be developed over the coming months, and is one of several new ideas Twitter has had.
There is also Revue, which will let people publish paid or free newsletter out to their audience. Alongside that, there’s Twitter Spaces, which seeks to compete against Clubhouse and allow users to participate in audio chats (you know, like chatrooms).
The latter is currently in private beta testing, which means it’s not yet available to the general Twitter audience.
The updates are likely to divide social media users, used to using the free service and the onus will of course be on those high profile accounts who opt to use the service to make their content engaging enough that people would want to part with their cash to access it.
People are already divided over it, with one social media user commenting: “It’ll be a paywall for ‘influencers’ to shark for nothing but words. At best, it’ll help people who can’t handle Patreon, but I’m on the fence about it.”
The news has also sparked a hashtag #RIPTwitter.