Elon Musk’s Twitter has been accused of failing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in severance to laid-off workers. Now, under a new ad-revenue sharing program, the company just doled out millions to high-profile Twitter users, including controversial right-wing figure Andrew Tate and left-leaning twin brothers Ed and Brian Krassenstein.
Twitter announced the ad-revenue sharing program for creators, initially on an invitation-only basis, on Thursday. The company said eligible creators will be paid a share of ad revenue starting in the replies to their posts. “This is part of our effort to help people earn a living directly on Twitter,” the company said in a blog post about the program.
Musk, who controls Twitter, previously said initial ad-sharing payouts to creators would total $5 million, cumulative “from when I first promised to do so in February.” Musk himself is eligible to earn a cut of revenue under the program; the tech mogul tweeted that he “gave my share to the creator payout pool.”
Twitter launched the program “to an initial group who will be invited to accept payment,” the company said. “We will soon launch an application process for ads revenue sharing.”
Among those in Twitter’s payout pool was Andrew Tate, who tweeted that he received $20,379 under the new program. Tate wrote that “every penny” of the proceeds will go toward his Tate Pledge charity initiatives. The former pro kickboxer, who once tweeted that women should “bare [sic] some responsibility” for being raped, last year claimed tech platforms had banned him for what he said were “traditional masculine values.” Tate has 7.1 million followers on Twitter; his Twitter account had been banned in 2017 and was reinstated after Musk acquired the social network. Last month Tate was charged with rape and human trafficking offenses in Romania. Earlier this week, Tate and his brother Tristan sued a Florida woman and others, alleging they conspired to falsely accuse the Tates in the Romania case, the AP reported.
Also getting Twitter payments were Brian Krassenstein ($24,305) and Ed Krassenstein ($24,877), entrepreneurs who originally rose to prominence on the platform with their relentless anti-Trump tweets. “Now I’m going to stop promoting border crossings and begin promoting Tesla vehicles,” Ed Krassenstein joked in a tweet. “I assumed I’d would be getting paid around $500 or so for the past 4-5 months. I thought, it would be pennies on the dollar compared to what George Soros pays me (sarcasm).”
In 2019, the Krassentein brothers were banned by Twitter for allegedly using fake accounts to amplify their reach (which they denied). Following Musk’s takeover of the company last fall, Twitter reinstated their accounts in December.
Other Twitter users who shared ad-revenue payouts included podcaster and political commentator Benny Johnson ($9,546), Ashley St. Clair, a writer for political satire site Babylon Bee ($7,153), and an anonymously run account called End Wokeness ($10,419).
Musk said Twitter’s ad-revenue sharing is not exactly on a per-impression basis, tweeting, “What matters is how many ads were shown to other verified users.”
According to Twitter, to be considered eligible for ad-revenue sharing, creators must be Twitter Blue subscribers (or affiliated with a verified organization); have at least 5 million impressions on their posts in each of the last three months; and pass “human review” for compliance with Twitter’s creator monetization standards.
Per Twitter’s policies, content that is not eligible for monetization includes pornography, “content depicting sex toys, nudity or implied sexual acts,” and content depicting or describing “criminal behaviors” including “human or animal abuse, or advocacy of harm to humans or animals; human trafficking; and piracy and copyright infringement.”
Twitter’s Creator Ads Revenue Sharing program will be available in all countries where Stripe supports payouts, the company said.