Elon Musk is desperately trying to spin up new revenue streams for Twitter, with the latest idea being paid direct messages (DMs).
According to a report from the New York Times, a Twitter product team is working on paid DMs with a focus on “Very Important Tweeters, or V.I.T.s.” The information came from two people with knowledge of the work, who also shared internal documents with the Times.
The internal documents included mockups of the feature, which would allow Twitter users to DM their favourite celebrities for a fee. Twitter hasn’t settled on a fee structure, but it could be just a few dollars per DM.
A prototype shown to the Times depicted someone asking musician Post Malone about his favourite records. The paid DMs could appear in a special area of the message inbox, and celebrities could choose to receive them. The Times notes that Twitter likely would take a cut of the fee.
However, the people who shared details with the Times said that plans remain fluid and the feature might not even launch.
Paid DMs are just the latest idea to try and squeeze profit out of the company. Musk’s acquisition saddled the company with $13 billion USD (about $17.6 billion CAD) in debt, with annual interest payments expected to total $1 billion USD (roughly $1.4 billion CAD).
Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.
Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 4, 2022
Musk also acknowledged that Twitter had “a massive drop in revenue” after advertisers pulled out, although he blamed it on pressure from “activist groups” despite causing turmoil on Twitter with mass layoffs and rapid feature changes. Plus, there was a surge in hate speed on the platform following Musk’s takeover.
All of that has combined to make Twitter less favourable to brands, which according to The Wall Street Journal, pulled ads over concerns Musk would scale back content moderation.
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Source: New York Times