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Twitter launches subscription tier Twitter Blue

Twitter has launched $2.99-per-month subscription tier Twitter Blue in the US, offering features including an undo button, ad-free news stories and a personalised Top Articles feed.

Twitter launches subscription tier Twitter Blue
Photograph: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash.

Twitter Blue will eventually be rolled out globally but is currently only available to users in the US, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia.

The features offered by Twitter Blue are built on those offered by news start-up Scroll, which Twitter acquired in May this year, including a news-aggregating feature rather like Nuzzel.

Senior product director Sara Beykpour said Blue offers a "set of features that we think resonate with the power users who want more control, more customisation".

Twitter has not revealed subscription numbers, but Beykpour revealed that the people who opted for Twitter Blue tended to be either people who tweet a lot, verified Twitter users with large followings, or people “who can’t get enough of reading and keeping up with the news.”

It may be that Twitter has journalists in mind as its target audience for this new service, for at a press conference Beykpour told those gathered that the product was designed for “people like you.”

Twitter senior product director Tony Haile, the former CEO of Scroll, introduced the ad-free reading experience so that Twitter Blue users visiting news sites such as Reuters, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, the L.A. Times, Slate, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Insider can read their content without seeing ads. However, a Twitter Blue user will still have to pay for news subscriptions to individual sites if they wish to circumvent paywalls.

A portion of Twitter Blue’s subscription revenue will go towards the supporting partner publications, the money being allocated by the amount of traffic a particular news site receives from Twitter Blue users within a month.

“Our goal is that each site makes 50% more per person than they would serving ads to that person,” Haile said.

The Top Articles feature will show a Twitter Blue user the articles that have been tweeted most by the people they follow in the last 24 hours by means of a “simple and transparent algorithm.” Unlike trending topics, Twitter employees play no part in moderating or curating them. “It’s a different and complementary way to experience Twitter,” Haile said.

Other features due to be introduced to Twitter Blue users include the ability to undo tweets, organise tweets into bookmark folders, and the ability to pin conversations within one’s DM box.

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