Twitter is now paying creators for a share of the ad revenue earned from ads served in the replies to their posts. Users who subscribe to Twitter Blue and have earned more than 5 million tweet impressions each month for the last 3 months are eligible to join. According to owner Elon Musk, the first round of creator payouts will total $5 million, and will be cumulative from the month of February onward. These payouts will be delivered via Stripe.
From what some large creators are sharing on Twitter, these payouts are substantial. Writer Brian Krassenstein, who has about 750,000 followers, claims that Twitter paid him $24,305.
Twitter’s payouts are determined by tweet impressions. Babylon Bee writer Ashley St. Clair (710,000 followers) said that she earned $7,153, and according to her “napkin math,” she had around 840 million impressions from February through July. That would make her rate about $0.0085 CPM (cost per mille), or $8.52 per million impressions. It’s not clear whether or not individual CPMs change from user to user.
Twitter is monetizing the ads served in tweet replies, as it would be difficult to determine which creators to pay for ads served in the feed (this is the same problem short-form video platforms like TikTok are running into with revenue sharing). Of course, this means that creators will want to incentivize users to reply to their tweets. In the best case, this would inspire conversation, but as we know from platforms like Facebook, extreme emotions drive the most engagement.
As Farzad Mesbahi tweeted, “The more haters you have in your replies the more money you’ll make on Twitter.” Musk replied, “Poetic justice.”
There are limits to what types of creators can earn money through this program. According to Twitter’s content monetization standards, sexual content cannot be monetized. This is a blow to Twitter’s community of sex workers, as Twitter is one of the only mainstream social platforms where adult content is permitted. Twitter also won’t allow creators to monetize content about “pyramid schemes or get-rich-quick schemes” (looking at you, crypto spammers), violence, criminal behaviors, gambling or drugs and alcohol. If a creator tries to monetize copyrighted content that they do not own, that’s also a red flag.
While Twitter pays out $5 million to creators, the company was recently sued over $500 million of unpaid severance checks to employees who were laid off amid Musk’s takeover. Twitter has also failed to pay rent on its office spaces.