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.

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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
12 months 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
12 months 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
12 months 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
12 months ago
Twitter acting like the real social media king right now ?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Feyl Avatar
12 months 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
12 months 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)

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