Twitter Finally Launches Super Follows As OnlyFans Stumbles:
Let the dollar signs flow.
Twitter announced Wednesday that it has finally, officially, started the rollout of Super Follows. The feature, first revealed back in February, allows users to charge a monthly fee in exchange for access to additional content. Twitter will take a cut of the earnings.
“With Super Follows, people can monetize bonus, ‘behind-the-scenes’ content for their most engaged followers on Twitter,” a spokesperson explained in an emailed press release. “And in exchange, these followers get special access to more of their favorite authentic Twitter content and conversations.”
This newfound ability, as of now still limited to a select number of U.S. Twitter accounts, allows users to generate revenue for creators in the form of a $2.99, $4.99, or $9.99 monthly subscription. It comes at an interesting time in the world of online content creation, following on an August debacle from OnlyFans, in which the platform threatened to ban sexually explicit content only to later walk the threat back.
While Twitter’s plan for Super Follows was in the works long before OnlyFans’ August announcement, it’s perhaps difficult to overlook the fact that it has come so soon after OnlyFans alienated its sex worker user base.
But will sex workers find success with Super Follows? We reached out to Twitter in an attempt to determine what type of moderation it will apply to Super Follow content, but didn’t get any specifics.
“Super Follows is being gradually rolled out to a limited group of people,” wrote a Twitter spokesperson in response. “As this feature becomes more widely available and we continue to learn and make iterations, we’ll be expanding it to more people and will share relevant policy details.”
Presumably, at a minimum, when it comes to content paywalled via Super Follows, Twitter will use the same standards it applies to other content on its platform.
Twitter defines “adult content” as “any consensually produced and distributed media that is pornographic or intended to cause sexual arousal.” The company writes that users “can share graphic violence and consensually produced adult content within your Tweets, provided that you mark this media as sensitive.”
In other words, Super Follows could — at least in theory — represent an alternative income source for sex workers wary of putting all their eggs in the OnlyFans basket. However, it’s worth noting that sex worker advocacy groups like Hacking//Hustling have accused Twitter of “shadowbanning,” suggesting Twitter might not be a welcoming home after all.
That fact is compounded by Twitter’s Super Follow payout provider, Stripe, an online payment processor used by companies like Instacart and Lyft. Stripe lists entire categories of restricted businesses, one of which is “Adult content and services,” which require prior written approval from the company to use its service.
Even without official word from Twitter, we’ll likely soon know the company’s position on sex workers using Super Follows to earn income.
That’s because starting Wednesday, iOS users in both the U.S. and Canada can Super Follow certain accounts. Twitter says that it will expand beyond those countries (but still iOS only) over the next few weeks, and that support for Android and the Twitter website will come “soon.”
Whether Super Follows is ultimately a success, or goes the way of Fleets, will likely depend on whether or not the feature is embraced by content creators of all types. When it comes to who can and cannot use the platform to earn income, Twitter very much has a say in that.
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