While the world debated Musk’s plan to charge $8 per month for a Twitter Blue subscription that is also linked to verified account status, the billionaire said a few words about “rewarding creators” with that money. “It is absolutely necessary. Creators must earn a living!” Musk replied to a tweet about creator payments. However, the most pressing questions are how to reward creators, what to reward them for, and where they are monetizing their work.
Twitter already has a tipping feature, and there is also the Super Follow feature, which allows Twitter creators to post content that is paywalled and requires a monthly subscription fee. Musk appears to have a completely different strategy for monetizing content — or, to put it another way, paid videos.
According to internal communication material obtained by The Washington Post, Musk has tasked a team with delivering a feature that will allow users to post videos that can only be unlocked after paying a fee as soon as possible. A creator can post up to four media files per tweet and charge a fee to view some or all of them. According to reports, the paywalled video plans will be available to users in one to two weeks. In a related development, Musk is revamping the paywall and ad-free article reading model for publishers who participate in the Twitter Blue program. Ad-free stories are no longer available, and not every newsroom is willing to pay for blue checkmarks for reporters.
Twitter may soon compete with OnlyFans
According to the most recent Twitter revelations about Musk’s lightning-fast product development pace, creators may be able to charge a fee of $1, $2, $5, or $10 for the media they share on Twitter. It is unclear whether Super Followers will be exempt from paying for these paywalled videos because they have already paid to follow and view a content creator’s exclusive tweets. People who do not want to pay can still retweet or like the Twitter post.
Twitter’s team is reportedly concerned that the feature will be used to steal and post copyright content, potentially putting Twitter in hot water for facilitating the illegal posting of copyright-protected content. It is unclear how paid video moderation will be handled internally, but the feature could be abused to spread child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the platform. Twitter already stands out among its social media peers by allowing sexually explicit content, and it appears that with Musk’s paywalled video plans, Twitter is going after OnlyFans to shore up its coffers.
According to an Axios report, OnlyFans expects $2.5 billion in revenue in 2022, which is roughly 2.5 times the interest Musk needs to pay bankers (via Bloomberg), and more than double Twitter’s quarterly ad revenue figures. Furthermore, creators may find it easier to promote their content on Twitter, where they already have a presence, rather than on a new platform like OnlyFans.