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Twitter has started sharing advertising revenue with select users with large followings, with some of the initial $5 million in payouts going to far-right influencers.

Andrew Tate, who was recently released from jail and placed under house arrest on charges of human trafficking, rape and forming an organized criminal group, posted that he had been paid more than $20,000. Others reporting a range of payments (made via Stripe) included Rogan O’Handley (known online as DC Draino). “This is a nice turnaround from being banned by Twitter 1.0 for almost 2 years to now being paid to post Thank you @elonmusk,” O’Handley tweeted.

The Washington Post had the first report about the recipients of the payouts.

The revenue sharing plan is part of a larger plan to prop up Twitter Blue, the paid-verification system whose problematic rollout has been one of the hallmarks of Elon Musk’s turbulent ownership of the company. Musk paid $44 billion to acquire Twitter last fall, declaring that rolling back the company’s previous restrictions on content would be a central priority. Only Twitter Blue or verified organizations with at least 5 million impressions on their posts in each of the prior three months are eligible for the revenue sharing program.

Patrick Traughber, a product exec at Twitter, tweeted that creators “are the lifeblood of this platform, and it’s great to see so many creators I follow getting paid.” He said the program will soon be expanded, though he did not offer any details. Linda Yaccarino, the former NBCUniversal ad exec who joined Twitter last month as CEO, retweeted Traughber’s message.

Tech giants have increasingly embraced the creator economy, especially with considerable headwinds gathering in the traditional advertising marketplace. In the social arena, Snap Inc. has been an active player, while Facebook last year added music revenue sharing. Spotify in 2022 declared its intent to become “the world’s creator platform,” initiating a shift away from high-priced talent deals and studio-produced podcasts.

YouTube is a longtime provider of revenue sharing payments, though it has encountered friction over the years with creators who chafe at the company’s terms. The video giant’s Shorts platform this year rolled out a revenue sharing program for creators, looking to lure more creators from rival TikTok.

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