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Twitter is exploring a subscription option called 'super follows'

The potential feature, which is still in development and may not launch, would allow users to solicit tips or charge money for exclusive content.
Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco on Jan. 11, 2021.
Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco on Jan. 11, 2021.Stephen Lam / Reuters file

Twitter is exploring a subscription option called "super follows" that would allow people on the site to charge money for an extra, exclusive layer of content, the company announced Thursday.

The feature, which is in internal testing and not launched, would represent a shift on a service that's always been free, pushing Twitter in the direction of companies such as Patreon, OnlyFans or Substack that offer the chance to make money from significant or devoted followers.

A spokesperson for Twitter said the company had been "examining and rethinking the incentives of our service — the behaviors that our product features encourage and discourage as people participate in conversation on Twitter."

"Exploring audience funding opportunities like Super Follows will allow creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience and will incentivize them to continue creating content that their audience loves," the spokesperson said in a statement.

The company said it would have more to share on the feature "in the coming months."

The company said its plans also included a possible tipping option.

Twitter previewed the idea during a virtual presentation to Wall Street investment analysts.

The presentation also outlined goals that the company called ambitious, including doubling annual revenue from 2020 to 2023, doubling the speed at which it delivers new features, growing daily users by 20 percent a year, and keeping the same long-term target for operating margin.

The price of Twitter's stock rose more than 7 percent after the announcements. The S&P 500 index was down about 1 percent.

The San Francisco-based tech company makes most of its revenue from advertising sales but has taken occasional stabs at subscription models. In 2017, Twitter said it was considering a premium version of its Tweetdeck interface aimed at professionals, and that year it also said it was exploring a tipping option on its Periscope streaming service Some Twitter users reacted to the news online with comparisons to YouTube's large creator community, or to OnlyFans, a platform that has become a popular destination for independent creators of adult content.