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Twitter in 'Very Early Phases' of Building Subscription Model

Jack Dorsey says test version will be out this year
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2020 9:18 AM CDT

(Newser) – With ad revenues down sharply, Twitter is looking at another way of making money: getting people to pay for using Twitter. CEO Jack Dorsey says the company is in the "very, very early phases of exploring" a subscription plan for the social media site and will likely launch a test version by the end of the year, Variety reports. "We have a really high bar for when we would ask consumers to pay for aspects of Twitter," Dorsey said during an investor call Thursday, per CNN. He said the company has focused "on increasing revenue durability, meaning that we have multiple lines of revenue to pull from," and "most importantly, we want to make sure that any new line of revenue is complementary to our advertising business.”

Dorsey said second-quarter ad revenues were down 23% from a year earlier, which he blamed on the pandemic and "civil unrest." His remarks followed reports that Twitter was looking for engineers to work on a subscription model code-named "Gryphon." Natasha Lomas at TechCrunch notes that "certain Twitter addicts" have long hoped for a paid version "free from trackers, annoying ads, and irritating algorithms which meddle with the clean chronology of the timeline." During the Thursday call, Dorsey also addressed the hacker attack that hit many high-profile users last week. "We feel terrible about the security incident" and "will continue to go above and beyond here as we continue to secure our systems and as we continue to work with external firms and law enforcement," he told investors. (Read more Twitter stories.)

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