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.
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.