Twitter is trying to come up with plans to force some users to agree to data sharing or lose access to the app in a bid information to save its ad business, Elon Musk’s platform, like Google and Facebook, currently allows users to opt-out of personalized ads, but this option could soon disappear. Most users never turn this feature off in the first place, but the company is also considering forcing users to share more data, which can then be sold to advertisers, Platformer’s report said.
This includes sharing user locations and phone numbers for targeted ads, even though the latter is necessary for two-factor authentication.
Twitter would implement the new rules by presenting a full-screen notification that can’t be dismissed until users agree to share their data, and there would then be no chance to opt out.
People familiar with the plans told Platformer that it would be rolled out to about 1% of American users to see their reactions, before expanding it to all Twitter accounts.
The plans could hit a snag in Europe because EU rules say that users have the legal right to withdraw data-sharing permissions at any time. Under one plan being considered, users could only opt out if they subscribe to Twitter Blue — which costs at least $8 a month. But that would breach Apple’s rules which outlaw apps from forcing a choice between payment and advertiser tracking.
Apple introduced a feature, last year, that prevents apps from tracking users across different apps to build detailed customer profiles for advertisers. This cost Meta $10 billion in revenue, while multiple sources told Platformer that less than 35% of Twitter users opted in.
Platformer reports that Twitter is working on the feature because Twitter Blue could actually lose the company money. The $8 monthly subscription allows users to see half as many ads, which is estimated to cost Twitter $6 in revenue. On Tuesday, Musk tweeted that the company would later introduce a higher tier with no ads.
Twitter Blue was reintroduced on Monday after being suspended for around a month, following rampant impersonations and Musk’s spat with Apple over App Store fees.
The New York Times also reported that Twitter has stopped paying rent on its offices and could withhold severance packages to laid-off workers, in an attempt to cut costs.
Although Twitter didn’t specify why Apple users are being treated differently, there’s a hint in the war Elon Musk has been waging against Apple’s “secret 30% tax.”
Musk has become increasingly vocal against the 30% fee the Cupertino company charges developers for in-app purchases, which companies such as video game developer Epic Games and music streaming service Spotify have been challenging for years.
Musk also hinted that Apple may be yanking Twitter from the App Store, but he then confirmed that the misunderstanding was resolved after a meeting with CEO Tim Cook at the company’s Cupertino headquarters.
Neither Twitter nor Musk has given an explanation for the $3 price bump, but it is curiously close to a 30% increase, mirroring the Apple fee.
Apple’s ad spending on Twitter in the first quarter of 2022, accounted for more than 4% of total revenue for the period, making it the top advertiser on Twitter. At the end of November, Musk claimed Apple had “mostly stopped” its Twitter ads but on Dec. 4, the self-appointed chief twit said the iPhone maker had “fully resumed” advertising on Twitter.
As paid users get blue ticks, Twitter will start replacing the “official” label with a gold checkmark for businesses, and a grey checkmark for “government and multilateral accounts.”