Twitter is rolling out a Tips feature that lets users send and receive one-time payments using third-party services, it announced on Sept. 23.
The social media platform is also adding recording and replay functions to Spaces (live audio conversations on Twitter); Super Follows, which allows creators with large followings to earn an income; and a safety mode for auto-blocking accounts similar to the ones users have already blocked.
“Our first purpose is to serve the public conversation,” said Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s head of consumer product, at the virtual event. “Public conversation is important because it helps people learn, solve problems, and realize that we’re all in this together.”
Tips lets users worldwide send and receive one-time payments using third-party services such as Venmo, Patreon, and GoFundMe. Users in the US and El Salvador can also give and receive Bitcoin tips through Strike, a payments application built on the Bitcoin Lightning Network. An account has turned on Tips if a paper money icon can be seen next to the Follow button on the profile page.
“Twitter wants everyone to have access to pathways to get paid,” said product lead for creator monetization Esther Crawford. “Digital currencies that allow more people to participate in the economy, across borders, and with as little friction as possible, help us get there.”
Tips is available worldwide on iOS, with Android coming soon.
Creators with devoted followings will be provided an outlet to “turn followers into fans, and fans into funds” through Super Follows, which is being tested in a small group of creators on iOS in the US.
“We see a huge opportunity [for these creators] to earn additional income directly from people who appreciate and value their content the most,” Mr. Beykpour said.
Through Super Follows, a monthly subscription service, creators can charge for exclusive access to content such as behind-the-scenes thoughts and private conversations; newsletters will likewise be pushed forward for writers to gain a following.
Recording and replays of Spaces, a feature that allows users to have live audio conversations on the platform, will be available soon. Ticketed Spaces is also being rolled out to give hosts the option of setting prices and audience size to get compensated for the experiences they create.
“Different people want to talk in different ways,” Ms. Crawford said. “We want to enable everyone on Twitter to express themselves however they feel most comfortable. We need to expand expression beyond 280 characters.”
Spaces has been used by actors to answer questions from fans and by reporters recapping the latest news stories. It’s also been used for talent shows featuring aspiring singers.
Users with similar interests can congregate on Twitter Communities. Tweets can be sent directly to community members, although these will still be publicly visible. Available on iOS and the web, users can apply to create and moderate their own community, but can’t currently join one unless invited by a moderator or another member.
Communities are being tested around popular topics such as dogs, weather, sneakers, skincare, and astrology, according to a recent blog post by Twitter staff product manager David Regan.
The Safety Mode feature decentralizes controls and auto-block accounts similar to the ones users have already blocked. The feature is being tested on a small group on iOS, Android, and Twitter.com, beginning with accounts that have English-language settings enabled.
“People are only going to talk on Twitter if they feel comfortable doing so,” Mr. Beykpour said. “One way we enable this is by empowering people to control who they want to hear from and talk to, and on what terms.”
Other safety features in the pipeline are word filters so users can remove unwanted speech in their replies, and prompts that allow users to know who are in a particular discussion so they can decide whether they want to jump in or not. — Patricia B. Mirasol