Twitter has officially announced Twitter Blue, a paid subscription service that offers access to new features like undoing tweets and viewing threads in an easier to digest “Reader Mode.” Starting Thursday, it will roll out first in Canada and Australia, where the subscription will cost $3.49 CAD or $4.49 AUD per month, respectively. We already had a good idea of what features to expect from Twitter Blue thanks to sleuthing from app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, but now Twitter has detailed everything the service includes.
A new undo send feature gives you the option of retracting your tweets before they actually go live, and you can set a timer for undoing your tweets that can last up to 30 seconds. A Bookmark Folders feature lets you group saved tweets to make them easier to find later. “Reader Mode” lets you keep up with threads by “turning them into easy-to-read text” and mashing together tweets into one page. Other Twitter Blue features are purely aesthetic: it adds new color theme options as well as the ability to change the color of Twitter’s app icon.
Twitter Blue subscribers will also get access to “dedicated subscription customer support,” the company says. This means that Twitter Blue users will get an expedited timeframe for resolving issues, Twitter tells The Verge. The expedited timeframe applies to any type of support ticket that you might file, which means you’ll get faster support both for account-related problems as well as if you’re reporting someone for harassment. Abuse and harassment continue to be an issue for Twitter, and paid prioritization for support could cause some controversy.
Twitter says it’s launching Twitter Blue first in Australia and Canada “to gain a deeper understanding of what will make your Twitter experience more customized, more expressive, and generally speaking more [fire emoji].” The company didn’t have a timeline to share for when Twitter Blue might expand to other regions.
Offering a paid subscription service is a significant change to Twitter’s business model that the company has been considering for some time. Previously, the company has relied mainly on advertising for its revenue, but intense competition from Facebook and Snapchat’s ad businesses, and pressure from activist investors has pushed it to explore new sources of revenue.
In early May, Twitter began testing a Tip Jar service that lets users send one-off payments to their favorite accounts. A Super Follows feature, announced in February, will eventually let users charge subscriptions for things like bonus tweets, community groups, or newsletters. (Newsletters were made possible after Twitter acquired newsletter service Revue at the beginning of the year.) Twitter has not yet announced when its Super Follows feature will launch.