Twitter Blue launches in the US and New Zealand with expanded feature set

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Twitter Blue, the company’s premium subscription service, is debuting today in the United States and New Zealand, with an extended set of features designed to appeal to the most active users on the social media platform. The service will be accessible on iOS, Android, and the web for $2.99 per month (or $4.49 NZD) and available in many languages. Twitter Blue was initially introduced last summer in Canada and Australia. It provides customers with a collection of features that allow them to manage their bookmarks, view Twitter threads in a clutter-free style, and swiftly edit typos before tweets are sent, among other capabilities. The extended rollout of Twitter Blue will also provide early access to new features through the newly created Twitter Labs, as well as ad-free news stories from hundreds of publishers, courtesy of Twitter’s purchase of Scroll in the spring of this year.

Furthermore, as a bonus, Twitter is bringing back Nuzzel, the news aggregator developed by Scroll, as a new tool named “Top Articles.”

It had a small but dedicated user base, who had been dismayed to learn that Twitter had shut down their favorite service after purchasing Nuzzel’s parent firm, Scroll. The service had served as a missing curating layer to Twitter’s tweets, displaying to users what individuals they were associated with on Twitter were reading and sharing throughout the social networking site. Compared to just browsing through Twitter’s trends, this provided a more customized method to tune into what was discussed.

Twitter has announced that it will make this similar service, known as Top Articles, accessible to Twitter Blue members starting today. Users will view the stories shared the most in their network over the last 24 hours.

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The new feature joins other now-standard Twitter Blue features such as the ability to organize saved tweets (also known as “Bookmarks”) into folders for easier access, the ability to customize Twitter’s theme, the ability to choose a custom app icon, and the ability to view long Twitter threads in a cleaned-up, distraction-free reading experience with a single tap.

 Theme customization, custom icons, and the option to personalize the app’s bottom navigation tab with your own preferred Twitter destinations, such as Twitter Spaces, Bookmarks, Top Articles, Lists, Monetization, and others, are all included in Twitter Blue. This may make Twitter seem more customized to you but also restricts Twitter’s ability to position new features in prominent locations in the app in the future, which may be necessary for the company.

 Subscribers also get access to Twitter Labs, which is where the company will conduct its early-stage experiments before rolling them out to the whole public. Among the features available at launch are the ability to upload 10-minute videos from the web (instead of two minutes for non-subscribers) and pin favorite Direct Message (DM) conversations to the top of the inbox, both of which were previously announced. Twitter Labs is available now.

 Another new feature is reading news stories posted on Twitter without being interrupted by advertisements or other distractions. This functionality was made possible due to Twitter’s purchase of Scroll, and it functions in much the same manner as it did before. As part of its Twitter Blue subscription service, the business collaborated with hundreds of publishers to provide users with a fast-loading, ad-free reading experience when they click on links they found on the platform. The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, and BuzzFeed News, Rolling Stone, Variety, Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter, IndieWire, Huffpost, The Atlantic, Insider, USA Today, MacRumors, BGR, Slate, Daily Beast, Miami Herald, Stylecaster, TV Line, Salon, Mother Jones, The Sacramento Bee, The Philadelphia Inquirer, SEJ, and others are among the notable names participating.

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When Twitter Blue members click on news links to these sites, the publisher, not Twitter, is responsible for providing the ad-free reading experience to the user. Twitter claims to have 300 U.S.-based sites on Twitter Blue, with “many more” expected shortly.

Other internet giants, such as Facebook with its Instant Content and Google with its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), have provided articles that load quickly and are devoid of clutter. The controversy surrounding these previous initiatives stems from the fact that they forced publishers to adhere to a format that may determine how visible they were on the particular platform. They were also attacked for failing to deliver on their promises, such as improved monetization and providing publishers with minimal access to user information.

According to Twitter, a percentage of each Twitter Blue membership will be paid out directly to the participating publications, promoting its news reading function as a means for customers to support their favorite websites while using the service. According to your audience, you’ll see a pie chart that tells you which websites have received payments and how much money they’ve earned in return.

According to Twitter, the goal is to have micro-payments generate more money than advertisements.

During the launch of the service, Twitter Senior Director of Product Tony Haile said, “Our aim is for each site to earn 50 percent more per person than they were making providing advertisements to that individual.” To have a great public discourse, we at Twitter believe that a robust media ecosystem is required. So, with Blue, we’re not just attempting to provide a better internet experience for customers, but also a better online experience for journalists,” he said.

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However, these micro-payments may not go far enough in terms of replacing the potential monetization that comes from having readers visit a site directly, where they will encounter not only advertisements but also other promotions and initiatives that a site may have to offer — such as subscriptions, free and paid newsletters, event tickets, or whatever else the publisher may want to put in front of its audience, according to the publisher. Twitter Blue readers may also be unable to cycle across the site in the same way that web visitors may, resulting in a reduction in total engagement.

Twitter warns that, at launch, sure of Twitter Blue’s functionality may differ depending on the market and platform being used.

Top Articles is initially available for Android and desktop computers at the introduction. Personalization options such as app icons and themes, custom navigation, and pinned DM conversations are available exclusively on iOS devices. Support for lengthier video uploads through the web is, of course, limited to desktop computers only.

After today’s launch, Twitter Blue is now accessible in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The firm has said that it intends to offer the subscription in additional areas, but it could not provide more details at this time.

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