Twitter wants to help users get tipped for their tweets

7 May 2021

New ways to tip. Image: Twitter

The roll-out of Tip Jar is part of Twitter’s wider plans to help users make money from the app.

Twitter is making it easier for users to send money to their favourite tweeters with its new Tip Jar feature.

Everyone who uses Twitter in English can now send tips to certain accounts on the iOS and Android apps.

In an initial test of the feature, Twitter said that “a limited group of people around the world” who use the app in English can add Tip Jar to their profile – this includes creators, journalists, experts and nonprofits.

It eventually plans to roll out the feature in more languages and make it available to more users.

A Tip Jar icon will now appear next to the ‘Follow’ button on a user’s profile if they have the feature enabled. Tap that and you can see a list of third-party payment services or platforms that can be used to tip the tweeter.

While the payment services available will vary by region, the full list includes Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal and Venmo. On Android, tips can also be sent within Twitter’s new Spaces feature.

Twitter is taking no cut from the payments, but said the third-party payment services may still charge fees.

“Tip Jar is an easy way to support the incredible voices that make up the conversation on Twitter,” wrote Esther Crawford, senior product manager at Twitter, in a blogpost.

“This is a first step in our work to create new ways for people to receive and show support on Twitter – with money.”

The introduction of Tip Jar is part of wider plans to help users make money from the app. The social platform plans to launch a Super Follows feature that allows users to charge for extra content such as bonus tweets or newsletter subscriptions.

Earlier this week, Twitter opened up its live audio feature Spaces to more users. It revealed that it is experimenting with ticketed events, which would allow users to charge for access to Spaces talks.

The company also bulked up its subscription strategy this week with the acquisition of Scroll – a start-up that partners with news sites to offer their content ad-free to users for a monthly subscription.

While the roll-out of Tip Jar has only just begun, some concerns have already been raised about the new feature.

Security researcher Rachel Tobac noticed that PayPal shares your address information with the receiving account when you send a tip. In response, Kayvon Beykpour, product lead at Twitter, said the company will add a warning to people giving tips so that they will be aware of this.

In its help page, Twitter says that “information about you, including your full name or address and your tip, may be shared with the recipient or others, subject to the terms of the third-party payment service”.

It recommends reviewing each service’s terms before sending a tip.

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic