Twitter released a new subscription service in the US and New Zealand on Tuesday that will enable people to pay for features such as the ability to undo a tweet and read ad-free news articles.
Called, the service costs $3 (NZD 4.49) per month. Twitter started testing the service in Australia and Canada in June. The move shows how Twitter is experimenting with ways to make money outside of ads and is increasing its focus on news-related products.
Sara Beykpour, Twitter's senior director of product management, said the subscription service targets people who use the site often mainly on mobile devices, are news junkies or are early adopters of new features.
"Twitter is still and will always be free," she said. "With Twitter, Blue, we're providing the most engaged and leaned in people on Twitter more ways to customize and control their experience and get exclusive access to premium features."
To access Twitter Blue, you click on the profile menu. The subscription service will show up at the top. Tapping that option will bring you to the settings page where you can add tools. That includes early access to features the company is testing, such as a way to upload 10-minute videos and to pin a conversation at the top of your direct messages.
Twitter's undo tweet feature lets people set a 30-second timer before the tweet gets posted so they can revise any typos or any other mistakes. People will also be able to customize their experience on the app with themes and icons and organize tweets in a bookmark folder. The features may vary depending on what type of device you are using.
The company said it plans to add new features to the service as it learns more from subscribers and expects to roll out the offering to more countries. The company didn't share the number of Twitter Blue subscribers so far or their demographics.
Reading ad-free articles
Like other tech companies, such as Google and Facebook, Twitter has also been working on a news-related product.
Twitter Blue members will be able to read articles without ads from US news sites, including The Washington Post, USA Today, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, Rolling Stone, BuzzFeed, Insider and The Hollywood Reporter.
Publishers will know if a Twitter Blue subscriber is visiting their website.
Twitter said it will provide news outlets some of the revenue the company makes from Twitter Blue subscriptions but didn't specify how much. Twitter said the goal is to help publishers make 50% more per person than they would have made from serving ads to that person.
News outlets have struggled to compete with social media sites for ad dollars. Google, Facebook and Amazon will make up 64% of all US digital ad spending in 2021, according to eMarketer.
"We recognize...a great public conversation requires a thriving journalism ecosystem. So, with [Twitter] Blue, we're not just trying to enable a better internet for subscribers but a better internet for journalism too," said Tony Haile, a senior director of product at Twitter. Haile was formerly the CEO of Scroll, a news startup that Twitter acquired in May.
Tweets with ad-free articles will be labeled. Through Twitter Blue settings, subscribers will be able to view how much they're contributing to specific news outlets in a section called "see your impact."
Twitter Blue subscribers will also be able to see the most-shared articles in their network over the last 24 hours. Twitter said that articles are ranked based on the number of people in your timeline who have tweeted the story.