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A subscription driven Twitter may soon be a reality!

In an interesting turn of events, the popular microblogging social media platform Twitter might just have slipped up and revealed something really big! The company has a new internal team named ‘Gryphon’ which, apparently, aims to build a Twitter subscription platform and has been recruiting engineers to join for the same. 

The job listing on the careers page of Twitter read: ‘We are a new team, codenamed Gryphon. We are building a subscription platform, one that can be reused by others in the future. This is a first for Twitter!

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In addition to that, the job listing went on to further explain that Gryphon is basically a team of web engineers who are currently working and collaborating closely with the Payments team and the Twitter.com team. They are looking for a full-stack engineer who can lead the Payment and Subscription client work and values collaboration as much as the company does.

When this particular news was broken out by Verge, the company went on to quickly edit its careers page and removed the mention of both their internal team and anything that could be related to the development of the Twitter subscription platform. After the edit, their job posting read that Twitter is searching for an Android engineer to ‘work on a bevvy of backend engineering teams to build components that allow for experimentation to deliver the best experience possible to all of our users’. But this edit was shortlived as well because Twitter, in the end, chose to roll back to its original job posting. Thus, the question that arises here is – what exactly is Twitter brewing for its users with a potential subscription model?

Twitter Subscription Model: What Could Be Brewing?

The company has not spilled all the beans in the job listings when it comes to how they will be implementing the subscription service. Thus, it is too early to be making concrete assumptions. But the new revelation has given birth to few of the possibilities Twitter may at experimenting with to strengthen its financial foothold. 

Currently, a vast majority of revenue that Twitter generates happens to come through ad sales and data licensing. However, that being said, if compared to the revenue the social media behemoth Facebook generates via advertising alone, it is definitely minuscule.

For instance, in 2019, Facebook minted a whopping $69.65 billion from advertising whereas Twitter, in the same year, was able to rope in $3.46 billion as its total revenue. Therefore, it can be speculated that one of the primary motivations of the latter to launch a subscription model is to bump up its revenue. It should also be noted that Twitter, as of late, has started to focus more on the monetization of their users and traffic than simply boasting up about its user base, just like many others out there. Lately, Twitter has stopped reporting its total userbase or DAUs, aka Daily Active Users or MAUs aka Monthly Active Users. The social networking platform is more focused on talking about its DMUs aka Daily monetizable users instead. Twitter claims to have 166 million DMUs by end of Q1 2020 (The Q2 2020 figures are still a few weeks away).

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Now, on the features front, the possibilities are endless. This is not the first time Twitter has delved into the possibility of offering paid subscriptions. In the year 2017, the company ran a survey to assess whether their users are willing to pay for features such as improved and new analytics, breaking news alerts, or information about what the followers of a particular account are tweeting about.

According to our speculation, as Twitter has been very busy testing out various new features such as fleets and audio tweets, it may consider structuring their own subscription platform in a similar way to that of Youtube Premium wherein the content is ‘ad-free’ and bundled with a lot many premium features that wouldn’t be made available to the free users.

Regarding the recent slip-up, a Twitter spokesperson has reached out to CNN and said that it is merely a job posting and not in any way an indication of a product announcement.

Wha exactly Twitter is upto is anybody’s guess presently. But given to the description of the required skill set, along with being very specific about the word subscription, it’s not too hard to predict that Twitter is trying to brew something interesting. Whether that will ever be launched, only time will tell.

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