Twitter Blue, the company’s subscription service, is adding new features while expanding to new countries and platforms. The service first launched in June in Canada and Australia on iOS, but starting Tuesday, Twitter Blue will be available in the US and New Zealand and on Android and the web.
Perhaps the most useful Twitter Blue feature is an undo button, which lets you recall tweets before they send. (I can think of a few times that would have saved me from an embarrassing typo.) Other features in the initial launch included a reader mode for tweet threads, bookmarks folders, the ability to theme your Twitter app and app icon, and, as of last month, a Labs program that lets subscribers try out some new Twitter features early.
But as part of Tuesday’s expansion, Twitter Blue is about to get a lot more useful for people who love reading and finding news on Twitter. One feature lets people view ad-free articles on participating websites and gives a portion of revenue from Twitter Blue subscriptions to those sites. If you’re a Twitter Blue subscriber, when you come across a link from a publisher offering ad-free articles, you’ll see an “Ad-free with Twitter Blue” label under the headline.
The feature builds off the company’s acquisition of Scroll, which offered similar functionality, and Twitter had said in October it would be rolling it into Twitter Blue. More than 300 US-based sites are participating in the program, including The Washington Post, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, The Hollywood Reporter, and, full disclosure, The Verge. The company says it hopes to include publications from outside the US in the future. And Twitter says it doesn’t change the proportion of money it gives to publishers if you subscribe to Twitter Blue from iOS or Android, which take a cut of digital purchases.
Twitter Blue’s ad-free articles feature doesn’t let you pass paywalls, Twitter says, so depending on the publication, you might not be able to read some articles even if you’re a Twitter Blue subscriber. And unfortunately, ad-free articles aren’t available on Android right now, and the company didn’t share a timeline for when that might change.
Disappointingly, you’ll still see ads on Twitter even when you subscribe to Twitter Blue, and don’t hold out hope that an ad-free feed will be arriving anytime soon, if at all. “We are not currently considering a Twitter ads-free product,” Twitter senior director of product Sara Beykpour said in a briefing.
Ad-free articles aren’t the only Scroll feature making a comeback; Twitter Blue will now offer a Nuzzel-like roundup of the most-shared articles from the people you follow called Top Articles that updates every 24 hours. Twitter wound down Nuzzel when it bought Scroll but committed to bringing “core elements” of the product to Twitter at some point.
The roundup of top articles won’t be an email like Nuzzel was. Instead, you’ll access it on Twitter itself, though it’s only available on Android and the web at the moment. A Twitter spokesperson said it will arrive on iOS “very soon.”
Twitter Blue subscribers will also be able to customize their navigation bar so that you can pin areas of the app that you want to be more easily accessible. Customizing the navigation bar will only be available on iOS to start, and custom themes is an iOS-only feature as well.
Twitter Blue costs $2.99 per month in the US (or an equivalent price in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand). I wish that it offered a totally ad-free experience, and I don’t like that some individual features are fragmented across platforms, but there’s enough for me to try it for a month and see how I like it.