There's just no getting around it, social media platforms are designed to turn its users into addicts and profit from vitriolic hate and negativity. Endorphins are released for likes and retweets, algorithms are engineered to highlight things you agree with, and the polarization of politics around the world is increasingly linked to social media engines. Especially when it comes to teenage depression, genocide, conspiracy theories, live streaming of riots and murders, and of course, being a hypocrite when it comes to your own policies/terms of service.
So what's the best way to stop Commie trolls, robots, and neo-fascists from destroying the fabric of American democracy and interfering with our elections? Capitalism! Finally, Twitter ($TWTR) and part-time CEO Jack Dorsey figured out that making people pay for things generally helps in getting rid of the worst parts of society, and also helps make money. Not relying on advertisements, in general, is just better for the world and civilization as a whole.
Thus, Twitter has hinted at the possibility at a premium subscription service, code-named "Gryphon" coming in the near future, based on job listings (more on that soon).
As a result of this now heavily edited job listing, the stock jumped 8% because the market clearly wants Twitter to do this. Smaller digital players like Substack are helping creators remotely rack up revenue, and a similar offering integrated into Twitter's mega-user base would likely be immediately lucrative. Then again, we'd also like a very important tech company who is also a media company to have a full-time CEO, that would be nice too.
The original job listing mentioned the paid service model, but has now been edited to not reflect that wording. It's one of the few job postings actually up for Twitter, who has completely scaled back on doing hiring because of COVID-19 (down 71% since March). Twitter employees can work remotely indefinitely, for now, but onboarding new staff at its offices is not on the agenda right now.
Twitter has been growing, maybe not as fast as investors want it to, but it still attracts new people. The real question is whether current Twitter users/trolls will pay for new features or no ads, or maybe even no data being sold off. Could privacy be locked behind a paywall? And would that drive engagement?
Twitter already has millions of user reviews on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and has a high rating on both. If down the road this paid subscription leads to a better user experience and less garbage nonsense, it would be reflected in various ways: a slight drop in the average review score possibly, fewer people on Twitter in general, but way more money. So it's a trade-off to do this, but one we think is the right way to go.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.