Twitter’s getting rid of one of Blue’s best perks: ad-free articles. In a message sent out to publishers and forwarded to The Verge, Twitter says it “made the decision to discontinue Ad-free Articles, effective as of close of business today, October 31, 2022.” The news was first spotted by 9to5Mac.
Twitter included ad-free articles when it rolled out its $4.99 Blue subscription last year. The feature lets subscribers read articles without ads from participating publishers while also giving a portion of Blue’s revenue to those sites. It’s based on the platform Twitter acquired from Scroll, a service that specialized in removing ads from news sites.
But Twitter says eliminating ad-free news should allow it to focus its “resources on adding additional value for our members.” The platform adds that it will no longer display the “Twitter Blue Publisher” label on articles in the app and will also stop the “ad-free experience” from loading on publishers’ websites.
These changes are supposed to go into effect today, but it doesn’t look like Blue subscribers are affected just yet or have received any notification of the change. Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, has since said a Twitter Blue subscription could cost $8 / month and include the ability to bypass the paywall on articles from certain publishers, among other features. It’s still unclear how this feature will work, or when it will officially roll out.
Since assuming ownership last week, the self-labeled Chief Twit has changed the homepage for logged-out users, which now shows the Explore tab instead of a prompt to sign up to the platform. Musk is also looking to make major changes to Twitter’s verification process, rebrand Super Follows as Subscriptions, and maybe even resurrect Vine.
Here’s the information Twitter sent to publishers:
In the coming weeks, we’ll be launching an update to Twitter Blue.
In the course of this work, we have made the decision to discontinue Ad-free Articles, effective as of close of business today, October 31, 2022. This hard decision will allow us to focus our resources on adding additional value for our members. Expect to hear more from us soon.
We are attaching an official notice of termination of notice of the service, as well as termination of the associated Publisher Agreement, given that the service underlying the agreement is no longer active. As noted in further detail below, you do not need to take any action, and you will receive all Publisher Participation payments earned by you up to the date of termination.
Starting tomorrow, we will stop displaying the “Twitter Blue Publisher” label on any Tweets containing your articles. We will no longer be sending a Twitter Blue token when people on Twitter access articles from your properties. This will prevent the ad-free experience on your site from loading. There is no change required from your end, but feel free to remove any Twitter Blue code from your site.
Update 2:17PM ET: Updated to add Musk’s comment about a new $8 / month Twitter Blue subscription.