Instagram just announced two big new features on Thursday, one that allows users to create a "Super Follower" status in which followers can pay for premium content, and one that creates Facebook-esque groups based on shared interests.
Twitter has been hinting for a while that it would be adding a subscription option — something that creators and adult performers have been making plenty of money from on YouTube, Substack, Patreon, and OnlyFans. When the feature launches, you'll see a "Super Follow" option on some users' accounts, and like on OnlyFans or Patreon there will be a specific subscription rate charged like $4.99 or $9.99 per month. These creators will then be able to profit off their fan base and in return give them access to things like bonus content, deals and discounts, fan clubs, newsletters, and badges that prove your "super" fandom. Twitter presumably will take a cut — rates to be announced — and this allows Twitter to get in on the paid-influencer game, another potential goldmine of revenue outside of advertising.
"Exploring audience funding opportunities like Super Follows will allow creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience and will incentivize them to continue creating content that their audience loves,” the company said in a statement.
As The Verge reports, there's no timeline for when this new feature will go live on Twitter, but it was presented along with other new features under the "What's Next" section of a presentation to investors and analysts on Thursday.
Those other features include "Communities," which is essentially Twitter's answer to Facebook Groups. In the mockup seen below, the company suggested communities such as "Plant Parents," "#SocialJustice," and "Crazy for Cats" as possible groups wherein Twitter users will be able to see more tweets focused on these topics of interest.
This likely adds yet another moderation headache for Twitter, as The Verge points out — Facebook Groups have been hugely possible but also a huge pain for Facebook when it comes to policing misinformation, harassment, etc. But it also will bring some order to the chaos of the platform (too late!) for new users who might otherwise feel overwhelmed.
Another new feature they unveiled, as the Associated Press reports, is the company's answer to Clubhouse, "Twitter Spaces," which will allow users to participate in group audio chats. Also, there's a newsletter product called "Revue," in which creators will be able to publish free or subscription-based newsletters for their followers.
All told, these features show Twitter attempting to become a more robust platform in the mold of Facebook, and like Facebook they likely haven't gamed out all of problems that may arise. Critics might also argue that Twitter never completely solved its own issues with harassment and misinformation before moving on to these news features — though recent years have shown both Twitter and Facebook adding fact-check labels to content and burying the most offensive or false content beneath an extra click.