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Twitter Adds Bitcoin & GoFundMe As Tipping Options

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Twitter is expanding its tipping feature to more users and diversifying the ways in which users can receive monetary contributions.

Twitter’s “tip jar” was introduced back in May as a way for users to earn money directly from other users. First access was given to select groups of English-speaking professionals and content creators.

Now, simply referred to as “Tips,” the feature is available to everyone on Twitter with an extensive list of payment options to choose from.

Esther Crawford, Twitter Staff Product Manager, states in an announcement:

“People already drop links to their payment profiles in their bios and in their Tweets. Tips makes this easier to do, offering one fixed spot, right on your profile, where you can link to your Cash App, Patreon, Venmo and other platforms where people can support you.”

“Whether you want to tip your favorite account because you adore their commentary, send some love to an emerging comedy creator for their hilarious Tweets, help a small business owner through a difficult time, give to an important cause — whatever you want to support (and we know you already have some ideas), Tips is here to help you do it.”

Here’s more about how Twitter Tips work, and the full list of payment options you can select from.

Twitter Tips – How Does it Work?

Twitter Tips lets you add links to third-party payment services on your Twitter profile.

When Tips is turned on, your profile will display a special icon letting others know you have the feature enabled. The icon looks like a cash bill.

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People can tap on the icon to send you money or Bitcoin off-platform via the third-party payment services you selected.

twitter tips
Screenshot from blog.twitter.com, September 2021.

Currently, Tips is only available to users on iOS. This is how to set it up using the iPhone app.

How to Set Up Twitter Tips

On iOS, go to Edit Profile. Then tap Tips to turn the feature on.

You will be asked to consent to Twitter’s General Tipping policy to turn on Tips on your profile.

From there you’ll be brought to the Tips settings screen. Toggle Allow tips to on and then choose the third-party service(s) you’d like to use.

Now you can enter your third-party service username(s). Note that your username on that service will be publicly linked to your Twitter account.

That means, and this is important, your personal information may be shared with others. This includes your full name, address, tip amount, and potentially other information as well.

Users must be at least 18 years old to request, receive, or send tips via Tips or anywhere on our platform.

Twitter does not receive any portion of the tips, though a percentage may be collected by the payment service.

Payment Providers

Twitter Tips can be sent and received via the following third-party payment services:

  • Bandcamp
  • Cash App
  • Chipper
  • Patreon
  • Razorpay
  • Wealthsimple Cash
  • Venmo

As of today, Twitter is adding online fundraising platform GoFundMe to the list.

In addition to the services currently offered, Twitter is enabling Bitcoin tips using Strike. Strike is a payment application built on the Bitcoin Lightning Network that offers instant and free payments globally.

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Strike is available to people in El Salvador and the U.S. (excluding Hawaii and New York).

Alternately, people can copy your Bitcoin address and paste it into a Bitcoin wallet of their choice to send you a payment directly.

Twitter plans to expand Tips to people on Android over the coming weeks.

Source: Twitter


Featured Image: Screenshot from blog.twitter.com, September 2021.

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Study finds half of Americans get news on social media, but percentage has dropped

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A new report from Pew Research finds that around a third of U.S. adults continue to get their news regularly from Facebook, though the exact percentage has slipped from 36% in 2020 to 31% in 2021. This drop reflects an overall slight decline in the number of Americans who say they get their news from any social media platform — a percentage that also fell by 5 percentage points year-over-year, going from 53% in 2020 to a little less than 48%, Pew’s study found.

By definition, “regularly” here means the survey respondents said they get their news either “often” or “sometimes,” as opposed to “rarely,” “never” or “don’t get digital news.”

The change comes at a time when tech companies have come under heavy scrutiny for allowing misinformation to spread across their platforms, Pew notes. That criticism has ramped up over the course of the pandemic, leading to vaccine hesitancy and refusal, which in turn has led to worsened health outcomes for many Americans who consumed the misleading information.

Despite these issues, the percentage of Americans who regularly get their news from various social media sites hasn’t changed too much over the past year, demonstrating how much a part of people’s daily news habits these sites have become.

Image Credits: Pew Research

In addition to the one-third of U.S. adults who regularly get their news on Facebook, 22% say they regularly get news on YouTube. Twitter and Instagram are regular news sources for 13% and 11% of Americans, respectively.

However, many of the sites have seen small declines as a regular source of news among their own users, says Pew. This is a different measurement compared with the much smaller percentage of U.S. adults who use the sites for news, as it speaks to how the sites’ own user bases may perceive them. In a way, it’s a measurement of the shifting news consumption behaviors of the often younger social media user, more specifically.

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Today, 55% of Twitter users regularly get news from its platform, compared with 59% last year. Meanwhile, Reddit users’ use of the site for news dropped from 42% to 39% in 2021. YouTube fell from 32% to 30%, and Snapchat fell from 19% to 16%. Instagram is roughly the same, at 28% in 2020 to 27% in 2021.

Only one social media platform grew as a news source during this time: TikTok.

In 2020, 22% of the short-form video platform’s users said they regularly got their news there, compared with an increased 29% in 2021.

Overall, though, most of these sites have very little traction with the wider adult population in the U.S. Fewer than 1 in 10 Americans regularly get their news from Reddit (7%), TikTok (6%), LinkedIn (4%), Snapchat (4%), WhatsApp (3%) or Twitch (1%).

Image Credits: Pew Research

There are demographic differences between who uses which sites, as well.

White adults tend to turn to Facebook and Reddit for news (60% and 54%, respectively). Black and Hispanic adults make up significant proportions of the regular news consumers on Instagram (20% and 33%, respectively.) Younger adults tend to turn to Snapchat and TikTok, while the majority of news consumers on LinkedIn have four-year college degrees.

Of course, Pew’s latest survey, conducted from July 26 to August 8, 2021, is based on self-reported data. That means people’s answers are based on how the users perceive their own usage of these various sites for newsgathering. This can produce different results compared with real-world measurements of how often users visited the sites to read news. Some users may underestimate their usage and others may overestimate it.

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People may also not fully understand the ramifications of reading news on social media, where headlines and posts are often molded into inflammatory clickbait in order to entice engagement in the form of reactions and comments. This, in turn, may encourage strong reactions — but not necessarily from those worth listening to. In recent Pew studies, it found that social media news consumers tended to be less knowledgeable about the facts on key news topics, like elections or COVID-19. And social media consumers were more frequently exposed to fringe conspiracies (which is pretty apparent to anyone reading the comments!).

For the current study, the full sample size was 11,178 respondents, and the margin of sampling error was plus or minus 1.4 percentage points.

TechCrunch

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Twitter Super Follows has generated only around $6K+ in its first two weeks

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Twitter’s creator platform Super Follows is off to an inauspicious start, having contributed to somewhere around $6,000 in U.S. iOS revenue in the first two weeks the feature has been live, according to app intelligence data provided by Sensor Tower. And it’s made only around $600 or so in Canada. A small portion of that revenue may be attributed to Ticketed Spaces, Twitter’s other in-app purchase offered in the U.S. — but there’s no way for this portion to be calculated by an outside firm.

Twitter first announced its plans to launch Super Follows during its Analyst Day event in February, where the company detailed many of its upcoming initiatives to generate new revenue streams.

Today, Twitter’s business is highly dependent on advertising, and Super Follows is one of the few ways it’s aiming to diversify. The company is also now offering a way for creators to charge for access to their live events with Ticketed Spaces and, outside the U.S., Twitter has begun testing a premium product for power users, called Twitter Blue.

Image Credits: Twitter

But Super Follows, which targets creators, is the effort with the most potential appeal to mainstream users.

It’s also one that is working to capitalize on the growing creator economy, where content creators build a following, then generate revenue directly through subscriptions — decreasing their own dependence on ads or brand deals, as a result. The platforms they use for this business skim a little off the top to help them fund the development of the creator tools. (In Twitter’s case, it’s taking only a 3% cut.)

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The feature would seem to make sense for Twitter, a platform that already allows high-profile figures and regular folks to hobnob in the same timeline and have conversations. Super Follows ups that access by letting fans get even closer to their favorite creators — whether those are musicians, artists, comedians, influencers, writers, gamers or other experts, for example. These creators can set a monthly subscription price of $2.99, $4.99 or $9.99 to provide fans with access to bonus, “behind-the-scenes” content of their choosing. These generally come in the form of extra tweets, Q&As and other interactions with subscribers.

Image Credits: Twitter

At launch, Twitter opened up Super Follows to a handful of creators, including the beauty and skincare-focused account @MakeupforWOC; astrology account @TarotByBronx; sports-focused @KingJosiah54; writer @myeshachou; internet personality and podcaster @MichaelaOkla; spiritual healer @kemimarie; music charts tweeter @chartdata; Twitch streamers @FaZeMew, @VelvetIsCake, @MackWood1, @GabeJRuiz and @Saulsrevenge; YouTubers @DoubleH_YT, @LxckTV and @PowerGotNow; and crypto traders @itsALLrisky and @moon_shine15; among others. Twitter says there are fewer than 100 creators in total who have access to Super Follows.

While access on the creation side is limited, the ability to subscribe to creators is not. Any Twitter iOS user in the U.S. or Canada can “Super Follow” any number of the supported creator accounts. In the U.S., Twitter has 37 million monetizable daily active users as of Q2 2021. Of course, only some subset of those will be iOS users.

Still, Twitter could easily count millions upon millions of “potential” customers for its Super Follow platform at launch. Its current revenue indicates that, possibly, only thousands of consumers have done so, given many of the top in-app purchases are for creators offering content at lower price points.

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

Sensor Tower notes Twitter’s $6,000 in U.S. consumer spending on iOS was calculated during the first two weeks of September (September 1-14). Before this period, U.S. iOS users spent only $100 from August 25 through 31 — a figure that would indicate user spending on Ticketed Spaces during that time. In other words, the contribution of Tickets Spaces revenue to this total of $6,000 in iOS consumer spending is likely quite small.

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In Canada, the other market where Super Follow is now available to subscribers, Twitter’s iOS in-app purchase revenue from September 1 through September 14, was a negligible $600. (This would also include Twitter Blue subscription revenue, which is being tested in Canada and Australia.)

Worldwide, Twitter users on iOS spent $9,000 during that same time, which would include other Ticketed Spaces revenues and tests of its premium service, Twitter Blue. (Twitter’s Tip Jar, a way to pay creators directly, does not work through in-app purchases).

Unlike other Twitter products that developed by watching what users were already doing anyway — like using hashtags or retweeting content — many of Twitter’s newer features are attempts at redefining the use cases for its platform. In a massive rush of product pushes, Twitter has recently launched tools not just for creators, but also for e-commerce, organizing reading materials, subscribing to newsletters, socializing in communities, chatting through audio, fact-checking content, keeping up with trends, conversing more privately and more.

Twitter’s position on the slower start to Super Follows is that it’s still too early to make any determinations. While that’s fair, it’s also worth tracking adoption to see if the new product had seen any rapid, out-of-the-gate traction.

“This is just the start for Super Follows,” a Twitter spokesperson said, reached for comment about Sensor Tower’s figures. “Our main goal is focused on ensuring creators are set up for success and so we’re working closely with a small group of creators in this first iteration to ensure they have the best experience using Super Follows before we roll out more widely.”

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The spokesperson also noted Twitter Super Follows had been set up to help creators make more money as it scales.

“With Super Follows, people are eligible to earn up to 97% of revenue after in-app purchase fees until they make $50,000 in lifetime earnings. After $50,000 in lifetime earnings, they can earn up to 80% of revenue after in-app purchase fees,” they said.

Correction, 9/16/21: Twitter mDAU was 37 million in the last quarter, not 169 million— the latter was the international figure. This has been updated. 

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Twitter introduces a new label that allows the ‘good bots’ to identify themselves

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Twitter today is introducing a new feature that will allow accounts to self-identify as bots by adding a label to their profile. This feature is designed to help people better differentiate between automated accounts — like bots that retweet the news, public service announcements or other updates — from those operated by humans. It’s not, however, designed to help users identify the “bad bots,” which are those that pose as people, often to spread misinformation or spam.

The company has been contemplating labeling bots for years.

In 2018, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was asked during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing whether he believed users had a “right to know” if they were speaking to a bot or a human on Twitter’s platform. He agreed that Twitter should add more context to tweets and was considering identifying bots, to the extent that it could. However, Dorsey also pointed out it would be more difficult to identify bots that were using scripting to give the appearance of being a human, compared with those that were leveraging Twitter’s API.

Last year, the company finally solidified those plans, saying it would later introduce new features that would allow users to be able to distinguish between human-run accounts and those that were automated. When Twitter launched its account verification system in May, it reminded users that it would soon offer other ways to identify different types of accounts beyond the long-coveted blue badge — such as labels for bots.

Image Credits: Twitter

Today, Twitter says its new “Automated Account” label that identifies “good bots” will be made available to over 500 Developer Accounts. This group will test the feature and provide feedback before it’s opened up more broadly to all Twitter developers. As it’s still a test for the time being, the label won’t be required.

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However, when Twitter updated its Developer Policy last year, it did ask developers to indicate in their account profile or bio whether the account was a bot, what the account is and who’s behind it. These account labels would allow developers an easier way to comply with that policy rather than having to handwrite this information in their bio.

Twitter tells TechCrunch that based on what it learns during this experiment, it may decide to make adopting the label a requirement for all developers who run automated accounts in the future, once it becomes broadly available.

Image Credits: Twitter

To be clear, Twitter doesn’t have any problem with those who run good bots, as it understands how automation can allow accounts to update people with helpful, relevant or, sometimes, just fun information. The company even celebrated a few of its favorite bots when announcing today’s developer news, including the public service account @earthquakesSF; a bot offering COVID-19 updates, @vax_progress; a bot that offers an ongoing breakdown of the last 100 bills introduced in Congress, @last100bills; an accessibility-focused bot, @AltTxtReminder; and others that just add value in their own way, like @met_drawings, which shares public domain works from The Met’s Drawings & Prints department, or the goofy @EmojiMashupBot, among others.

All these will be a part of the initial test group.

Twitter is also less concerned with how consumers may use automation to update their own accounts, perhaps by using third-party tools like IFTTT to post links or other content.

“You are ultimately responsible for the actions taken with your account, or by applications associated with your account,” Twitter’s policy advises Twitter users. “Before authorizing a third-party application to access or use your account, make sure you’ve thoroughly investigated the application and understand what it will do.” It also adds that Twitter users that adopt automation will still need to adhere to Twitter’s guidelines.

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The company has been on a tear lately in terms of rolling out new features. Just this week, it has launched Communities, tests of emoji reactions, support for full-width photos and videos and a way to “soft block” followers, among other things.

Twitter has not said how long the test would run before the Automated Account labels are rolled out more broadly.

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