Twitter working on going beyond its 280 character limit


Microblogging platform Twitter is working on going beyond its usual 280 character limit, and will come out with more customised controls and privacy features for users, besides launching newer ways for creators to earn.

“We think Twitter can be the conversational layer for the internet and that can lead people to greater opportunities. We are focused on going beyond 280 characters. We want to enable everyone on Twitter to express themselves however they feel comfortable. Whether through a tweet, using their actual voice in a live conversation, or through longer forms of expression like a newsletter,” said Kayvon Beykpour, head of consumer product at Twitter while announcing these updates in a select media briefing.

“We want to turn followers into fans and fans into funds. A lot of people have a significant following on Twitter. And we see a huge opportunity to provide these people an outlet to earn additional income directly from the people who appreciate and value their content the most. We feel this can also serve as a powerful economic incentive to increase healthy discourse on the platform,” he added.

Beykpour said Twitter is also looking at helping people tweet on their own terms through customised controls. “You will keep seeing us push towards this vision and we will share our progress publicly along the way,” he said.

Esther Crawford, product lead for creator monetisation said self-serve monetisation tools can really scale to a large community of creators to help them earn money and create more conversations that their followers get real value from. “Millions of people have built a following on Twitter, and we want them to earn money right here on Twitter,” she said.

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Twitter recently introduced Super Follows to a small group of creators on iOS in the US. It’s a monthly subscription service which enables creators to charge for exclusive access to content and private conversations. People using iOS in the US and Canada can subscribe to super follow some initial creators and Twitter will be rolling out the feature to more people. The platform also wants to add more ways for writers to gain a following.

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“Writers want to see their subscription base grow and we see that their paid content produces engaging conversations on Twitter. So we are going to continue to make it easier for people to discover newsletters from the people that they follow on Twitter,” said Crawford and added that in addition to adding more payment services like GoFundMe, it is also introducing several ways to tip with Bitcoin.

“People will be able to add a Bitcoin wallet or their Bitcoin address to send and receive Bitcoin tips beginning today (Thursday). One of our top priorities is being able to support creators around the world. Especially those outside the US and we are currently working on making that possible. We are excited that we are soon going to have payouts for dozens of additional countries. We also recognise that there are two billion people around the world who don’t use traditional banking services so we are exploring ways to pay out creators no matter where they live,” she added.

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Twitter will also roll out Tips to more people starting Thursday. Tips is the platform’s profile feature that lets users send and receive one-time payments using third party services. Crawford said in a few weeks it will also introduce a programme for hosts on its Spaces format to provide financial, technical and marketing support to emerging audio creators who are passionate about the live audio format and are interested in creating recurring programming on the format. In the next few months, it will also introduce updates to Spaces such as including recording and replaying besides continuing to roll out access to ticketed spaces.

For conversational safety, Twitter will soon be launching an experiment called Heads Up. “It’s a quick heads up for when we think that users may be joining a potentially heated discussion. We are also beta testing a feature that tries to autoblock accounts similar to what users have blocked already,” said Christine Su, product lead for conversational safety at the company. Su said a big focus area is to help people feel more comfortable tweeting when and how they want to.

“Instead of us thinking of Twitter as a moderator you will see us thinking a lot more about putting more controls into the hands of customers… Letting every Twitter user customise their experience on the platform,” she added.

Last month, Twitter introduced the ability to change who can reply to users’ tweets in the middle of a conversation. “People are very excited about this. In the last four weeks, we have seen a decline in abuse reports. We have seen people are taking conversations into their own hands,” Su said.

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Twitter is also exploring a feature called Word Filters to filter out unwanted speech.

“So some of the examples of how this could be used is to stop targeted name calling, emojis, profanity or other terms that people find offensive. Very soon, users will be able to remove themselves from a conversation. Maybe they don’t want to be in that conversation but they don’t want to offend or notify that person. They will be able to remove themselves from that conversation and quietly leave,” she added.



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