Twitter is launching its new subscription service, Twitter Blue, in Australia and Canada on Thursday.
The paid-for extra service will add features such as an “undo tweet” button, bookmarks, and a reader mode, Twitter said.
The limited launch is designed to “gain a deeper understanding” of what customers are looking for.
But the company also said the free-to-use version of the platform would also remain.
“We’ve heard from the people that use Twitter a lot, and we mean a lot, that we don’t always build power features that meet their needs,” the company said in a statement.
“We took this feedback to heart, and are developing and iterating upon a solution that will give the people who use Twitter the most what they are looking for: access to exclusive features and perks that will take their experience on Twitter to the next level.”
Twitter said the new subscription was not designed to undermine the free experience, but to offer “enhanced and complementary” features “for those who want it”.
It will cost $3.49 in Canadian dollars and $4.49 in Australian dollars per month, Twitter said.
No date has been announced for other countries, but previous listings in mobile app stores have suggested it will eventually cost $2.99 in the US and £2.49 in the UK.
Twitter said subscribers will get “perks” – giving examples such as customisable app icons for phone home screens and what it calls “fun colour themes” for the app.
But they will also have access to a “dedicated” customer support, the company says.
The additional features that Twitter says were inspired by user requests include:
- Bookmark folders, designed to help users organise saved tweets more easily
- Undo tweet, which will let users set a timer of up to 30 seconds after posting before it appears publicly – to allow quick correction of obvious mistakes
- Reader mode, which turns long threads of tweets into easier-to-read text
- “We will be listening to feedback and building out even more features and perks for our subscribers over time,” it said.
- It does not, however, include verification in the form of a “blue tick” on a user profile, which cannot be bought.
- Twitter recently re-opened its verification applications for the fist time in years, but was forced to shutter the programme for a few daysafter just a week of accepting them, because it was inundated with requests.
- By David Molloy, Technology reporter
- Twitter made no secret of plans to charge its top users a small fee for some extra perks – but it’s only dipping its wing in the water for now.
- The much-asked-for undo tweet button is undoubtedly top of the list, for all of us who’ve ever had a screamer of a typo, or – even worse – accidentally tweeted something we meant to search for.
- But other features are squarely targeted at the Twitterati elite.
- When Twitter bought web reader firm Scroll in May, it made a big deal about Twitter being for news and discussion. Bookmarks and the reader feature for long threads are firmly targeted there.
- And for good reason.
- Twitter’s growth in active users has slowed in recent years – a potential problem for any social network, where perceived value is often based on numbers. Twitter has never had the users that Facebook has – it boasts hundreds of millions, but not billions.
- But many of its biggest users are media personalities, politicians, and business leaders – the type of people for whom a small monthly fee might not be too much to ask.
- This is new territory. Unfounded rumours that Facebook might one day ask for a fee have led to digital panic in the past – so Twitter’s two-country opener is a test to see if the idea will fly.