Twitter users have often joked they “can’t believe this website is free,” but the tech giant’s model of profiting by selling data licenses and targeted advertising services doesn’t seem to be capable of delivering the robust cashflow desired by its high-powered investors.
Twitter announced Thursday it was considering two new features for which users would have to pay in an attempt to wean the social media company off its dependency on advertising revenue, but also as part of an ambitious plan to double its profits and attract new users in coming years.
A spokesperson for Twitter told NBC the tech giant has been “examining and rethinking the incentives of our service – the behaviors that our product features encourage and discourage as people participate in conversation on Twitter.”
The second feature being considered would be called Communities, which the Verge said seems similar to Facebook Groups, which provide for users to interact around specific interests. However, Facebook Groups have always been free, but their exclusivity and privacy has also created headaches for content moderation, a task Twitter has increasingly thrown itself into by pruning content the company judges to be “harmful.” It’s unclear if Twitter Communities will also require paid access.
Twitter gave no timeline for when these would go public – possibly later this year. However, they were announced as part of the company’s ambitious plan to double its $3.72 billion annual revenue and to increase its monetizable daily active users from 192 million to 315 million by 2024.
In response to the news, however, the company’s stock shot up by 7% immediately after the news, although it ended slightly down for the day.