Twitter Launches New Subscription Service in Australia and Canada

By Epoch Times Sydney Staff
Epoch Times Sydney Staff
Epoch Times Sydney Staff
June 6, 2021 Updated: June 10, 2021

Twitter has announced it will launch a world-first subscription to the platform in Australia and Canada.

Called Twitter Blue, the social media giant said its new subscription model will meet the needs of prolific Twitter users, with the power to undo a tweet or to save and manage content.

“We’ve heard from the people that use Twitter a lot, and we mean a lot, that we don’t always build power features that meet their needs,” the social media company said in a blog update on June 3. “Well, that’s about to change.”

The subscription costs $4.49 (US $3.86) per month and offers three new features.

Undo Tweet: This feature gives users 30 seconds to click “Undo” button before posting a Tweet, reply, or thread to the timeline, allowing users to preview and revise Tweet, although an “edit” button is still not offered.

Reader Mode: The mode will provide users with “more beautiful” reading experience on the app by turning long threads, a popular way to write beyond the 280-word limit, into easy-to-read text, so that people can read all the content seamlessly.

Bookmark Folders: The feature makes it easier for users to save content and manage Tweets saved in the past, thereby users can find content more efficiently when they need it.

Users of the new offering will also enjoy some privileges such as customizable app icons on the home screen, fun colour themes for the app, and access to dedicated subscription customer support, which is faster than normal users.

Suzy Nicolette, the managing director of Twitter Australia, told Twitter Space that the new product was first trialled in Australia because it is a market full of dedicated social media users.

“As a market, we are avid social media users. Nearly six in 10 go online more than 10 times a day, so we know people are really engaged,” she said.

“We are also mature and digitally savvy in Australia, so you see a lot of launches happen here.”

Twitter confirmed that a free version of the app is not going away, “and never will.”

“This subscription offering is simply meant to add enhanced and complementary features to the already existing Twitter experience for those who want it,” the company said.

Smita Gupta, senior product manager at Twitter, told Nine News that the subscription offering is currently in a “test and learn” stage, and the company did not have a target number of users shifting to the new offering.

“We don’t have revenue expectations at the moment, this is a long-term endeavour in terms of diversifying revenue streams, and we are still in the very early stages of this,” she said.

Rob Nicholls, Associate Professor of Regulation and Governance from UNSW, noted the decision to select Canada and Australia as pilot markets.

“This suggests that Twitter is ‘putting its toe in the water’ without alienating the largest customer bases across the world,” he wrote in an email to The Epoch Times.

Nicholls believes Australian users were unlikely to take up the new offering, as the social media giant’s penetration in the country are not as strong compared to the United States.

“In general, these are people or businesses that tweet many times per day and for who there is revenue associated with Twitter activity,” he said. “The rationale behind the subscription is that for power users, there may be a value proposition in some of the product offerings.”

“The subscription model has the opportunity to generate more revenue per Twitter user than would flow from advertising. That is, to the extent that this decision is in response to market pressure, it’s pressure from shareholders, rather than users.”

Epoch Times Sydney Staff
Epoch Times Sydney Staff