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Twitter might let users paywall video content: report

Twitter might let users paywall video content: report


The plans could be part of Twitter’s shift towards paid services rather than advertising.

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Twitter is exploring the option to let users put video content behind a paywall, according to an internal company email obtained by The Washington Post. Mockups suggest users would be able to enable the “Paywalled Video” feature after adding video content to a tweet, and then choose from preset prices, such as $1, $2, $5, or $10. Other users would be able to like or retweet the content regardless of whether they’ve paid to view it.

The Washington Post notes that it’s unclear whether the plans predate Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of the social media company. In recent years, Twitter has been exploring more non-advertising sources of revenue, including a Super Follows feature that lets users pay for subscriber-only content, and its premium Twitter Blue subscriptions.

The feature could launch in the next one to two weeks

Musk’s purchase of the company appears to have accelerated this pivot. The CEO has publicly announced plans to charge $8 a month to be verified on the social media network; a radical shift for a feature that’s previously been available free of charge for public figures. And according to WaPo, Twitter’s employees have been given a target to launch the new video paywall feature in just one to two weeks.

The tight deadline means that Twitter’s internal review teams have as little as three days to evaluate the risks of charging for video content on the service. These risks include users uploading copyrighted content and charging for it.

There are also questions about how paywalled videos might be used by Twitter’s active porn community. The company is one of the few major social media networks to allow such content, and estimates that around 13 percent of the content posted on its network is NSFW. But allowing users to charge for such content opens the door to difficulties with both advertisers and payment providers, the latter of which have historically been skittish about working with pornography sites. Concerns about the spread of child sexual abuse imagery (CSAM) previously derailed plans by Twitter to launch an OnlyFans-style paid subscription service.