Twitter launches first subscription service Twitter Blue with retractable tweets

On Thursday, Twitter announced the official launch of its first-ever subscription service, Twitter Blue, first available in Australia and Canada. The subscription service will allow Twitter users to access advanced features, including tools to organize bookmarks, read tweets in a neat format and retract tweets. The move could help Twitter diversify its revenue streams.

Twitter launches first subscription service Twitter Blue with retractable tweets

Twitter said the company will first launch Twitter Blue in select markets in Canada and Australia to help it determine whether the existing feature set meets the needs of those who want more customization in their Twitter experience and to encourage discussion around additional features that Twitter should prioritize that should be Blue be added as a priority in future iterations.

A Twitter spokesperson said, “We will continue to look at different tiers and pricing opportunities as we continue to learn what works and what doesn’t work.” In Canada and Australia, Twitter Blue subscriptions cost C$3.49 and A$4.49 in local currency, respectively.

Twitter launches first subscription service Twitter Blue with retractable tweets

The new Bookmark Folders feature is designed to help Twitter users organize their saved content, which is collected through Twitter’s bookmarking feature.Launched in early 2018, Twitter’s bookmarks provide a private way for users to save tweets for later review. This is useful for those who want to read long-form content later, or for those who want to save tweets without alerting others.

The bookmark folder feature allows users to create subfolders for their bookmarks, color-coded for easy visibility. There is an “Add Bookmark” button on this screen that allows users to add tweets to their favorites directly from the bookmarks section.

Twitter launches first subscription service Twitter Blue with retractable tweets

Meanwhile, the new “Reader Mode” feature may not be exactly what Twitter users have been waiting for. Prior to the launch of Twitter Blue, Twitter acquired Scroll, a distraction-free reading service that cleans up news articles by removing ads and other clutter for a better reading experience. Later this year” into Twitter’s subscription service.

But Twitter claims that Reader Mode is not connected to any of the company’s recent acquisitions, including Scroll, and was built separately to serve Twitter Blue. For now, at least, Reader Mode is focused on making it easier to read longer Twitter threads. Basically, it’s an alternative to the Thread Reader App, a third-party application.

Twitter launches first subscription service Twitter Blue with retractable tweets

When you go to the tweet details view, Twitter Blue subscribers will see a button that lets them change the screen to display long text. Users can exit “reader mode” and view the thread as usual. As for Scroll, Twitter said that the better reading experience it brings to the platform will be integrated into Twitter Blue later.

Finally, there’s Undo Tweet, Twitter Blue’s flagship feature. While it’s not the edit button users really want, it allows people to quickly “unsend” a tweet if they discover a typo or make some other mistake (like forgetting to tag someone). Other features include customizable app icons on the device’s home screen, a color theme for the Twitter app, and access to dedicated subscription customer support.

Twitter launches first subscription service Twitter Blue with retractable tweets

Twitter said users can set their own timer of up to 30 seconds to “retract” tweets or replies posted within that time frame. Prior to the release of Twitter Blue, the company had hinted that this “retract” option might satisfy users’ need for an edit button. Undo Tweet will help solve many of these problems, especially for super users who tweet frequently.

Twitter today emphasized that the launch of Twitter Blue does not imply any changes to the free version of Twitter. Subscriptions will continue to focus on adding enhancements and other complementary features to Twitter’s free tier. It may include more options as time goes on.

However, Twitter did not say when Twitter Blue would be available in the U.S. or other markets. Twitter had first introduced the Fleets feature in spring 2020, but did not roll it out to all global users until November of that year. Twitter declined to comment when asked if Twitter Blue would launch in a similar fashion.

Offering a paid subscription service is a major change in Twitter’s business model that it has been considering for some time. Previously, the company relied heavily on advertising for revenue, but stiff competition from Facebook and Snapchat’s ad business, as well as pressure from rights-bearing investors, has prompted it to explore new revenue sources.

As Twitter has consistently struggled to expand its user base over the years, it recently began looking to make more money from its loyal users. Those plans will include offering tools to creators, including the upcoming Super Follow subscription, as well as Twitter Blue.

Twitter told investors earlier this year that the company plans to at least double its total annual revenue to $7.5 billion or more by 2023, up from $3.7 billion in 2020, thanks in part to new initiatives including subscriptions. Twitter Blue will initially be available only in iOS-powered markets.

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