Twitter Executive on Super Follows and Apple's Subscription Fees: 'We're Not in the Business of Getting Around Platform Rules'

Last month, Twitter announced "Super Follow," a new business model that will allow creators to charge users for exclusive content on the platform. To make it work, Twitter will enable users to pay creators, influencers, and others a set monthly price to become a "Super Follower" via an in-app purchase on iOS and Android.

Twitter Feature
Apple's in-app purchasing system, which gives the tech giant a 30% commission for purchases made within apps, has become the center of recent controversy. Companies such as Epic Games claim that the commission is "unfair" and that 30% is too high. Most notably, ‌Epic Games‌ in August of last year broke App Store rules by implementing its own direct payment method for in-app purchases within Fortnite, resulting in the game's removal from the platform.

In an interview with The Verge, Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter's head of consumer product, offered a different tone towards Apple's hotly disputed in-app purchasing system. In what could be an indirect snub to the actions of ‌Epic Games‌, Beykpour said that Twitter is "not in the business of getting around platform rules."

The way I would think of this in the context of Super Follows where we’re building this layer that didn’t exist before — even if that $10 comes down to $7 because of a 30 percent fee, that’s still $7 more than you’ve been able to make on Twitter than before.

So don’t get me wrong, I would love for that to be $9 instead of $7, but at the end of the day, that’s not something that we have direct influence over on one platform. So it’s not a focus for us right now. Our focus is to build the best possible experience that is good enough that people aren’t going to think about the cut.

Beykpour's answer came in response to a series of questions in which The Verge's editor-in-chief, Nilay Patel, attempted to get a specific answer on Twitter's thoughts about Apple's "30% tax." While Beykpour dodged providing a definitive answer on Twitter's viewpoint on the commission, he did say that it takes a "lot of cost and effort" to build an ecosystem and platform such as the App Store to accept payment methods.

In the larger picture, however, Beykpour said Twitter has no "direct influence over on one platform" and that if Twitter implements "Super Follow" correctly, then "good things will happen." Twitter has not offered a timeframe for when "Super Follow" will launch, but it's promising to share more information in the coming months.

Top Rated Comments

ruka.snow Avatar
20 weeks ago
Nice to see Twitter on the right side here, it is indeed $7 they never would have had before.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
20 weeks ago
Ugh, Twitter. Seriously, why can't we just pay a few bucks a month to get rid of all ads completely? I would be HAPPY to do that. I don't feel like paying for individuals' tweets. I just want to stop seeing ads every fourth tweet in my timeline.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Arsenikdote Avatar
20 weeks ago

TLDR: I agree with Twitter’s view on the App Store.

I think 30% is high given the scope and scale the App Store has grown to, but it’s still Apple’s platform, and you get a lot out of that 30%.

I think Epic has some good points, but I disagree with how they’ve gone about things. It seems unlikely to me that Apple has stuck with 30% out of greed... I believe there is some logical reason beyond simply profits they settled on that number and continue to do so. Even if that’s not the case, I still believe that while high, 30% is fair for what you get.
It is an interesting thought experiment...what is Apple had launched at 20% or 40%....would we be having the same conversation? Apple launched the App Store, and when they did, the industry was thrilled with only 30% because of the old distribution model costing so much more. Fast forward and now everyone is claiming it is "high". So would it really have mattered what number Apple started with? Would we have always ended up here? Who gets to decide what the "right" price is?

Some people might jump in with "the market would if Apple would let it", but you can point to other platforms that sell like Apple does and they are right in line with those.

Not saying this to to take a side, just super interesting how events have played out and an example where I wish we could peek into alternate universes to see if this same thing was happening at a different % :D


Hang on. They want users to pay to get access to content from influencers and such. They actually want people to pay for them to be advertised at! Insane.
The content creators would be allowed to push out whatever content they want under the subscription model. Since you pick to pay that creator, I would assume that if that creator was just pushing out advertisements to you, likely you would not choose to pay them. I would think the model is more centered around content creators creating content you are super interested in and willing to pay for.


Forget it. If Twitter users expect me to pay to read their blurb, they can F.O.

Twitter will lose a lot of users, I can see a U turn coming.
This is not a required thing. Each member can decide if content they create is something that is viewable by everyone or behind a paywall. Even if you follow someone who has a paywall, likely they will have some public tweets and some paywall tweets. Many people find ways of doing this outside of Twitter and then just tweet something that points others to that method. This just allows content creators an easier way to hosting customized content. I don't think Twitter will loose any followers, why would people leave?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving Avatar
20 weeks ago
Twitter acting like the real social media king right now ?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Feyl Avatar
20 weeks ago

Ugh, Twitter. Seriously, why can't we just pay a few bucks a month to get rid of all ads completely? I would be HAPPY to do that. I don't feel like paying for individuals' tweets. I just want to stop seeing ads every fourth tweet in my timeline.
You can download apps like Tweetbot for that.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EdT Avatar
20 weeks ago

Forget it. If Twitter users expect me to pay to read their blurb, they can F.O.

Twitter will lose a lot of users, I can see a U turn coming.
I quit Twitter a number of years ago, but I realize that I am an outlier. Lots of people are quite willing to pay for social media. I don’t even know what is available but Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Google-whatever plus probably a dozen that I am unaware of are growing by leaps and bounds. Basically it’s Ego-Crack. Use a service and many people get hooked because it makes them seem a part of an exclusive group.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Twitter Feature

Twitter's 'Blue' Subscription Service May Cost $2.99, Will Offer Undo Tweet Option

Saturday May 15, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Twitter has been working on some kind of subscription service since last summer, and Jane Manchun Wong, who often digs into new features coming in apps, has shared details on just what Twitter is exploring. Twitter's subscription service could be called Twitter Blue, and at the current time, it's priced at $2.99 per month. There will be a "Collections" section that allows users to save and...
timcookantitrust

Tim Cook 'Practicing for Hours' Ahead of Epic Games Testimony Expected This Week

Monday May 17, 2021 4:17 am PDT by
So far, Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken a backseat in defending Apple as it faces a significant legal battle with Epic Games regarding the App Store. While the CEO has commented on the platform in the past, for the first time this week, Tim Cook will take center stage in his company's battle with Epic Games. Apple in March submitted its list of executives that will testify during the trial...
Twitter Feature

'Twitter Blue' Subscription Announced, Launches in Canada and Australia First

Thursday June 3, 2021 7:16 am PDT by
Twitter has today announced "Twitter Blue," a new subscription service that features the ability to undo and bookmark Tweets, a reader mode, color theme options, and more. Twitter describes the new subscription as giving "access to exclusive features and perks that will take their experience on Twitter to the next level." Twitter Blue currently features: Bookmark Folders: A way to...
app store blue banner

Judge Grills Tim Cook on App Store Policies as End of of Epic Games v. Apple Trial Approaches

Friday May 21, 2021 12:48 pm PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook testified in the Epic Games v. Apple trial today, and some of the final questioning by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez-Rogers did not appear to go in Apple's favor. She spent several minutes grilling Cook on Apple's App Store policies and some of the statements that he made. "You said you want to give users control, so what's the problem with allowing users to have a cheaper option...
fortnite apple featured

Epic Games 'Spent Months' Preparing Lawsuit Against Apple, Codenamed 'Project Liberty'

Wednesday February 10, 2021 9:01 am PST by
In a wide-ranging interview with CNN Business, Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, says that his company spent months preparing its lawsuit against Apple, which is internally codenamed "Project Liberty." Epic launched an all-out assault against Apple after it removed Fortnite from the App Store in August after the app implemented a direct payment method for in-app purchases. App Store policy...
fortnite apple featured

Epic Games v. Apple Trial Wraps Up, But We Likely Won't Know the Outcome for Months

Monday May 24, 2021 4:58 pm PDT by
The three week Epic Games v. Apple trial wrapped up today, with a series of debates that were held in lieu of traditional closing arguments. The wrap up follows Apple CEO Tim Cook's testimony last week, which saw him grilled by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on Apple's App Store policies. As outlined by Protocol, at the conclusion of the trial, Rogers aimed to get at the heart of the dispute...
fortnite apple featured

Apple Earned Over $100 Million From Fortnite

Wednesday May 19, 2021 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple collected more than $100 million in revenue from the 30 percent cut that it takes from Fortnite in-app purchases, according to testimony provided by App Store gaming business development head Michael Schmid, who shared the detail in the ongoing Epic v. Apple trial. As noted by Bloomberg, Schmid offered the $100 million figure as a rough estimate, and declined to provide a specific...
fortnite apple logo 2

Apple's Filings in Epic Games Case Argue It Has Reduced Industry Commissions, While Third-Party App Stores Would Compromise Privacy and Security

Tuesday April 13, 2021 2:02 pm PDT by
Prior to its upcoming bench trial with Epic Games, Apple filed hundreds of pages of documents covering findings of fact, which include some interesting and previously unknown tidbits about Epic Games. Epic Games planned its rebellion against Apple for at least two years ahead of when it opted to brazenly violate Apple's App Store rules, with Apple's App Store fees at the heart of the...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Admits App Store's 30% Cut Is Similar to Consoles, Would Have Accepted Special Deal With Apple

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:54 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and during the second day of the trial, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney continued his testimony against Apple. Sweeney was grilled by Apple's lawyers, and made several points seemingly favorable to Apple. In addition to mentioning how he prefers Apple's iPhone and values Apple's privacy policies that he's aiming to dismantle, Sweeney...
General Snapcaht Apps Feature 2

Snap is 'Happy' to Pay Apple's 30% Commission Rate, Says Evan Spiegel

Friday May 21, 2021 9:36 am PDT by
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel today told CNBC that his company is "happy" to pay Apple's 30 percent cut of in-app purchases because of the benefits that Apple provides with its software and hardware. We really feel like Snapchat wouldn't exist without the iPhone and without the amazing platform that Apple has created. In that sense, I'm not sure we have a choice about paying the 30% fee, and of...