Twitter announces paid Super Follows to let you charge for tweets

Twitter’s mockup of its Super Follows feature.
Image: Twitter

Twitter announced a pair of big upcoming features today: the ability for users to charge their followers for access to additional content, and the ability to create and join groups based around specific interests. They’re two of the more substantial changes to Twitter in a while, but they also fit snugly into models that have been popular and successful on other social platforms.

The payment feature, called Super Follows, will allow Twitter users to charge followers and give them access to extra content. That could be bonus tweets, access to a community group, subscription to a newsletter, or a badge indicating your support. In a mockup screenshot, Twitter showed an example where a user charges $4.99 per month to receive a series of perks. Twitter sees it as a way to let creators and publishers get paid directly by their fans.

Direct payment tools have become increasingly important for creators in particular in recent years. Patreon has been hugely successful, and other platforms including Facebook, YouTube, and even GitHub have all launched direct creator payment features. Twitter will presumably take a cut — the company has been hinting at subscriptions features that would offer it a new source of revenue — though it doesn’t appear to have said yet what that fee will be.

Twitter’s mockup of its Communities feature.
Image: Twitter.

Twitter also announced a new feature called Communities, which appear to be its take on something like Facebook Groups. People can create and join groups around specific interests — like cats or plants, Twitter suggests — allowing them to see more tweets focused on those topics. Groups have been a huge success for Facebook (and a huge moderation problem, too), and they could be a particularly helpful tool on Twitter, since the service’s open-ended nature can make it difficult for new users to get started on the platform.

There’s no timeline yet for when either of these features will launch. Twitter listed them as “what’s next” for its platform during a presentation for analysts and investors this afternoon.

Comments

Super Follows sounds like SFW OnlyFans.

Does Twitter block NSFW content? I think depending on the user (followee?), this could easily get just as NSFW as OnlyFans. =P

No, but Twitter requires you to mark your account as posting "sensitive" content if you regularly post NSFW content. I wouldn’t be shocked if Super Follows ends up not being available to accounts marked as posting "sensitive" content.

Why would the limit NSFW content if it brings them money?

The main reason is really that NSFW credit card charges have a much higher rate of chargebacks, i.e. "no, honey, I wasn’t the one who used our credit card to pay for that porn site! Someone must have stolen our credit card!"

These kinds of fraudulent chargebacks mean that the payment processors have to eat the charges, and so payment processors that cater to porn sites charge a much higher rate in order to cover the cost of the chargebacks.

In other words, it’s because ordinary users are much more willing to commit fraud when buying things that are NSFW.

They’re a corporation, most favor prudishness. If anyone involved in making decisions about this has half a brain then they should be able to learn a lesson from tumblr but that’s certainly not guaranteed.

Twitter has always had porn, and Twitter has a lot more power than Tumblr ever had. Tumblr ran into problems with the App Store, and it would be a lot more difficult—from a PR standpoint—for Apple to get away with playing the same hardball tactics with Twitter. The only thing I could see Apple realistically being able to get away with would be Apple forcing Twitter to use in-app purchases while prohibiting those in-app purchases from being used for pornography.

I am so glad they are going to have groups soon. A couple of the podcasts I listen to only have facebook groups, and since I don’t use it I’ll be thankful for some twitter groups

Makes sense. Look at Patreon, OnlyFans, and maybe even Substack. You’re not being forced to pay for stuff.

That could be bonus tweets

Paying for getting even more tweets? Sounds crazy to me.

Agreed – let us pay to get fewer tweets. That’s a model that would make ’em some $

I’ll tell you how to do that for free, it’s the same method I’ve used for years to not see any tweets.

Now, if they could only fix their video compression. It’s like 2010 watching videos on Twitter.

I understand why there is a low floor for video quality on these sites; there are still parts of the world where a 2G network is the only available connectivity option. But even if you were to open a Twitter video on a 10Gbps network, it still starts at what looks like 144p and proceeds to do that for half the video’s length to finally switching to its max 720p quality, which barely looks any better. Worse still, when the video loops back, the initial portion is still the same 144p quality as it just ends up getting cached. And if the video is too short, it never gets a chance to switch to higher quality.

Yeah, I 100% get why they have a low floor. But why the roof is 720p in 2021 is just ridiculous.

Could be a good thing for informational/educational feeds, and porn. Video on Twitter still sucks but I guess this is cool too. And still no edit button.

Do you have to be a blue checkmark to use this?

Lol that the article manages to never mention OnlyFans even once

Twitter’s clearly got their sights on OF, and it makes perfect sense. Many people use Twitter to build and maintain their audience, and then take all the money off-platform. Twitter could see to benefit a lot by keeping that money—and those users—on their platform.

If they can create a platform that can host content worth being paid for.

Maybe, but not what OF’s true demographic is. Because if you look at even OF marketing, it basically pretends like there are zero sex workers on its platforms, only highlighting artists. Clearly OF doesn’t like its reputation of being a paid porn site and I doubt Twitter is after that image, either.

Twitter already has that imagine, outside of journalists and bots its basically just a porn site.

Lol yup

This is more like Patreon.

It’s like both, but I think that OnlyFans is more of a broad cultural phenomenon than Patreon is (probably an unpopular thing for me to say lol). As stigmatized as porn is, I wouldn’t be surprised if OnlyFans had higher revenue than Patreon, if only because users seem even more stingy paying for art than they are paying for porn.

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