The American microblogging and social networking service, Twitter introduced a new paid-for “Twitter Blue” service on app stores, suggesting the social media company may launch its long-rumored subscription service soon. Mobile phone app stores showed the service, although its expected features did not yet appear to be available.
A subscription plan has long been anticipated as Twitter looks for more ways to make money from its large user base. In April, the company said it had 199 million users from whom it could make money every day, a 20% year-on-year hike.
On Apple’s App Store Twitter lists “Twitter Blue” under in-app purchases for £2.49 in the UK and $2.99 in the US store. On the Android store, the Twitter listing shows “in-app purchases” but does not list pricing for the service.
One of the expected features of this service would include an “undo” button enabling users to recall tweets for a few seconds after sending them. Additionally, a “collections” feature so users can make separate lists of tweets (rather than relying on a single bookmarks list), and a mode to make it easier to read long threads.
Charging users for extra features could significantly increase Twitter’s money-making abilities. In the first three months of 2021 alone, the company made revenues of $1bn (£700m). Finding other sources of revenue could also make it less susceptible to fluctuations in global demand for advertising, as well as technological changes such as Apple’s clampdown on tracking on its devices.
According to researcher Jane Manchun Wong, Twitter Blue could come with tiered pricing, with users who pay more able to access more features.
Twitter also made an announcement this month that it was acquiring Scroll, a subscription service that removes ads for news sites and is designed to give readers a “seamless reading experience.” While it’s not an ad blocker, Scroll performs a similar function, leveraging browser extensions to tell sites not to display ads. In exchange, Scroll gives participating news sites a portion of the user’s subscription fee.