Twitter continues to experiment with changes

Twitter is still going through a period of uncertainty, with reports that it’s suffered a 40% drop in revenue as advertisers continue to be unsure about its future. Amongst all the ongoing Twitter updates, it’s being sued for nonpayment of rent in London and San Francisco, and Elon Musk may be considering auctioning off desirable usernames to raise some money.

As we try to keep up with these Twitter updates (like the timeline changing to “for you” and “following” in case you missed that one), brands are having to continually reassess how they use the platform. 

In January alone, Twitter started testing changes to the new view count on tweets; it’s cut off some third-party developer access, is considering introducing user-gifted rewards and changing its violation punishment policies.

Twitter’s looking for ways to verify views on tweets

Twitter started rolling out displaying view stats on tweets in December (users have been able to see tweet views in their analytics for years, but these view numbers are now at the bottom of the tweet along with like, retweet and comment numbers).

There’s been some debate about how accurate these figures are – does it count as a view if someone scrolls past your tweet? Do they have to open it? A lot of the regular Twitter users haven’t hid their feelings about this. In a way, it’s showing how little engagement they get as they can see how many people view their tweet, yet don’t interact with them. 

Towards the end of January, Twitter started to test changing “views” to “verified views”. The idea is that, eventually, most Twitter users will sign up to Twitter Blue and therefore be listed under “verified views” and be a good indicator to advertisers of how many actual people are viewing their tweets.

Twitter may be introducing rewards for tweets

Twitter is also working on introducing an award system where users can reward others with various emoji stickers (similar to Reddit). Users will eventually be able to convert these rewards into money.

It could be an interesting way to reward content creators and influencers (and would probably end up being used as part of community fundraising when a friend or follower needs a helping hand. 

If it goes ahead, we could also see brands using these to reward followers.

It’s cut off third-party access for some apps

Twitter abruptly cut off access to various third-party apps on January 12th. Apps that allowed people to scroll through Twitter via another service – such as Tweetbot and Fenix – suddenly stopped working. Five days later, Twitter explained why:

It’s being seen as another way Twitter is trying to cut costs and maximize profits (as it hopes to drive people back to Twitter’s app and site – and serve them ads).

Twitter’s introducing “less severe” punishments for policy violations 

While Twitter is trying to bring people and advertisers back to the app, it’s also doing things to make the user and brand experience more hostile – such as imposing “less severe” punishments on accounts that violate policies.

People who do get their account(s) suspended will be able to appeal and be evaluated under new criteria. It’s this change that could hurt brands the most.

Twitter users are already complaining about harassers not being punished enough – this decision could make the platform more hostile for many users, which is likely to cause more concern for brands and advertisers.

It remains to be seen if the other Twitter updates that are being trialled will benefit the platform or create more problems for its users.

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