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Twitter explores Super Follows for creators to earn money

The site is also working on other new products, including Communities that let users chat about favorite topics.

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- 03:05
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Twitter has been experimenting with different ways for users to share their thoughts, including audio and disappearing messages.

Graphic by Pixabay; illustration by CNET

Twitter is exploring new products, including a Super Follow feature that'll let users pay creators, and groups that make it easier to chat about interests.

The social network, known for short posts, has been moving beyond its mainstay 280-character tweets. That's included getting more serious about experimenting with audio, disappearing messages, and other ways for people to converse online. 

"We're focused on public conversation as a use case and that use case is going to have multiple formats associated with it," Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Thursday during the company's first virtual analyst day. For example, users might tweet out text but discuss tweets through audio or recap a conversation using more words in a newsletter. 

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Twitter is exploring a feature called Super Follow that's meant to help content creators earn more money. 

Twitter

Among the new products Twitter is exploring are Super Follows and tipping. The features will let users follow a creator or publisher on Twitter for a monthly subscription fee in order to view exclusive content or newsletters. Dantley Davis, who runs Twitter's design and research operations, said products that fund creators motivate "them to continue creating great content that their audience loves."

Twitter expects to start rolling out the Super Follow product this year. An image of the new feature shows a subscription fee of $4.99 per month, but the company expects that users will be able to customize their monthly subscription prices.

The company has also ramped up efforts to make it easier for users to find topics and interests, to entice them to stay on the site for a longer period of time. Taking on Facebook Groups, Twitter said it's working on a product called Communities that lets people join conversations around a specific topic, like their love for cats, surfing or plants.

"Today it could feel tone deaf to talk about a hobby or interest amidst the intense global public conversation about the pandemic," said Kayvon Beykpour, head of product at Twitter. 

Twitter, which already lets users follow topics, is working on a solution to that problem by creating a way for users to chat about their interests in smaller groups. 

Dorsey and other executives discussed a wide range of topics, including content moderation and regulation. The event provided more details about how Twitter envisions its future and its goals. The company said it aims to double its revenue to  $7.5 billion or more by 2023. Twitter also plans to grow its number of daily users to at least 315 million by the end of 2023. In the fourth quarter, Twitter had 192 million daily users. The company said it's been attracting more users in India and Nigeria and plans to grow in developing countries. 

As Twitter experiments with different ways people can converse on its site, the company will likely face more challenges when it comes to moderating content. This year, Twitter permanently banned Donald Trump, who was the US president at the time, after the deadly Capitol Hill riot in January. Social networks like Twitter have also faced more scrutiny from lawmakers, celebrities and others who say the site needs to do a better job of combating hate speech, harassment and other offensive content. 

Twitter has been leaning more on automated technology to flag offensive content that could violate its rules.

"This technology isn't perfect and never will be," said Vijaya Gadde, who leads Twitter's trust and safety efforts. "Mistakes are inevitable. As human communication evolves, so too will this technology."