Today in Awesome
Some Good News: Prom 2020: Some Good News with John Krasinski Ep. 4
Twitter Considers Subscription Models After Ad Revenue Drops
- Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has announced that the company is considering plans to integrate a subscription model on the platform.
- Reportedly, that would likely be in the form of an ad-free version of Twitter.
- The news, which was speculated earlier this month after a job listing from the company appeared, comes amid a 23% decline in the platform’s ad sales compared to this time last year.
- It also comes one week after what is now arguably Twitter’s most alarming data breach ever. The company revealed Wednesday that hackers targeted 130 high profile accounts and even accessed the private messages of one elected official in the Netherlands.
Twitter Could Launch a Subscription Model This Year
Amid a sharp decline in advertisement sales, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has now said that the company is actively exploring adding a subscription-based model to the platform.
“You will likely see some tests this year” of different models, Dorsey said.
Dorsey revealed the plan on Thursday as Twitter reported its second-quarter earnings report. Notably, ad revenue accounted for $562 million, and while that might sound like jackpot-equivalent figures to the everyday person, it’s actually 23% dip in ad revenue for Twitter compared to the same quarter last year.
That’s also despite attracting a record 20 million daily active users to the platform during the same time period.
Part of the reason why Twitter is seeing slumping ad sales is due to many companies struggling to stay afloat—let alone to maintain ads—in the current COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, Twitter’s drop in ad sales are in line with the U.S. market as a whole, which saw a 25% decline in ad spending for Q2.
Another factor that could play into the drop off involves recent ad boycotts by some companies. Those boycotts have largely been driven by ongoing protests calling for racial justice and criticism that social media platforms are not doing enough to silence hate speech.
Rumors that Twitter executives might be considering such a move already began to circulate earlier this month after the company posted a job opening seeking a senior software engineer that would join a “new team.”
According to the posting, that team would be focused on “building a subscription platform,” codenamed “Gryphon.” It’s unknown if that name will be used in the future.
Following this news, Twitter stocks surged—particularly because a subscription model would open up new revenue streams and raise the company’s value. After Dorsey’s official announcement, Twitter shares again rose on Thursday.
“First and foremost, we have a really high bar for when we would ask consumers to pay for aspects of Twitter,” Dorsey said in justification of the potential model. “We have focused majority of our attention on increasing revenue durability, meaning that we have multiple lines of revenue to pull from. But most importantly, we want to make sure that any new line of revenue is complementary to our advertising business.”
Essentially, don’t expect to start having to pay to post that tweet that you just know is going to explode with likes; reportedly, Twitter’s subscription model will likely be an ad-free version of the platform.
“The prospect of a paid version of Twitter—free from trackers, annoying ads and irritating algorithms which meddle with the clean chronology of the timeline—has been a holy grail for certain Twitter addicts since (basically) forever,” Natasha Lomas wrote for Tech Crunch. “So plenty of its most fervent users will be watching keenly to see exactly what Dorsey cooks up.”
Some social media platforms, such as YouTube, have already launched subscription services; however, YouTube’s model is more closely aligned to that of streaming providers. Twitter’s most direct competitors—Facebook and Instagram—are completely free and devoid of subscription models. Like Twitter, both platforms rely on ads.
The Extent of That Massive Twitter Hack
Twitter’s stunted earnings follow what Dorsey called a “tough week” for the platform. In fact, it was arguably one of Twitter’s worst weeks ever as a massive bitcoin hack compromised dozens of high profile accounts.
The victims of the hack include of a wide scope of public figures, ranging from reality star Kim Kardashian-West to former President Barack Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Twitter revealed the further extent of that hack Wednesday and just how deep its security breach is believed to have stretched.
“We believe that for up to 36 of the 130 targeted accounts, the attackers accessed the DM inbox, including 1 elected official in the Netherlands,” Twitter said in a tweet. “To date, we have no indication that any other former or current elected official had their DMs accessed.”
To recap:— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 23, 2020
🔹130 total accounts targeted by attackers
🔹45 accounts had Tweets sent by attackers
🔹36 accounts had the DM inbox accessed
🔹8 accounts had an archive of “Your Twitter Data” downloaded, none of these are Verified
“We feel terrible about the security incident,” Dorsey said Thursday. “Security doesn’t have an end point. It’s a constant iteration… We will continue to go above and beyond here as we continue to secure our systems and as we continue to work with external firms and law enforcement.”
See what others are saying: (CNN Business) (Variety) (Tech Crunch)
We Need To Talk About The Portland “Secret Police” Videos Controversy & Why Your City May Be Next
Georgia Gov. Bans Local Government From Requiring Masks
- Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp suspended all local mask mandates in the state on Wednesday.
- Around 15 cities and counties had mask requirements in place, but now people in the state are just “strongly encouraged” to voluntarily wear masks when out in public.
- This order was met with a lot of backlash from local leaders who see it as a direct threat to public health.
- Republican leaders in states like Oklahoma are also holding back on issuing mask mandates, while some, like Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, have decided to enact them.
Gov. Kemp’s Order
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads throughout Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp is suspending all local governments from enforcing mandatory mask orders in the state.
In an executive order issued Wednesday, Georgians were “strongly encouraged to wear face coverings” when in public, but the directive stopped cities and counties from enacting requirements of their own. According to the Associated Press, around 15 local governments had already adopted these kinds of mandates.
Kemp has long stated that local leaders have no power in enforcing these kinds of rules, but this order makes it official.
“No local action can be more or less restrictive than ours,” Kemp’s communications director wrote on Twitter. “We have explained that local mask mandates are unenforceable.”
Kemp is still encouraging those in his state to wear masks voluntarily, however, he previously told the Atlanta Constitution-Journal that a government mandate would be “bridge too far.”
“There’s some people that just do not want to wear a mask,” Kemp said. “I’m sensitive to that from a political environment of having people buy into that and creating other issues out there.”
Health officials have repeatedly said that masks are one of the most effective ways of slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Several studies have proven them to block transmission. Countries that had widespread mask-wearing have seen lower death rates from the coronavirus.
Response From Local Leaders
The state has seen a total of 127,834 cases and 3,091 deaths, and on Wednesday, 3,871 new cases were reported, which is their second-highest daily case count to date. Given the rising number of cases, Kemp’s order was met with backlash from local leaders.
“Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us,” wrote Savannah mayor Van Johnson. Every man and woman for himself/herself. Ignore the science and survive the best you can.”
Dunwoody mayor Lynn Deutsch posted a Twitter thread claiming that this order leaves grocery store employees, retail workers, and restaurant servers “caught in the battle” between Kemp and local governments.
“Our small businesses asked us to mandate masks,” she wrote. “Their employees are worried about being exposed. Without our mandate, some customers are pushing back and arguing about wearing a mask.”
Deutsch also says that this comes as hospitals in the area are struggling with patient increases and community spread.
“Incredibly sad for my community and Georgia tonight. Sorry that the Governor has chosen to politicize your health,” she added.
Mask Rules in Other States
Kemp is not the only governor in the country standing by the choice to not mandate masks. When Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced Wednesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus, he claimed he did not regret his choice not to wear masks more frequently.
“I don’t really second-guess anything,” he said in a press conference.
“I’m just hesitant to mandate something that’s problematic to enforce,” he later added when asked about imposing a state-wide mask requirement.
However, other Republican governors have recently made the choice to enforce mask mandates. In Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey announced that as of Thursday, the state will follow a mandatory mask requirement. That mandate will expire when the state’s stay at home order ends, which is currently at the end of the month.
“We are almost to the point where our hospital ICUs are overwhelmed,” she said during a press conference. “Earlier this week 87% of our ICU beds statewide were occupied. Folks, the numbers just do not lie.”
Cases and deaths as a result of the coronavirus are on the rise in Alabama. Texas has seen a similar increase. At the start of July, Governor Greg Abbott ordered that most Texans wear masks in public. This mandate applied to anyone in a county with more than 20 confirmed COVID-19 cases.