The Twitter membership service, Twitter Blue, is constantly evolving and expanding. Twitter Blue was initially released in June for iOS in Canada and Australia, and as of Tuesday, it is also available for Android and the web in the United States and New Zealand.
The undo function in Twitter Blue is arguably the most helpful feature, as it allows users to retract tweets at any time prior to sending. (There have been a few occasions where that would have prevented an embarrassing typo on my part.)
A reader mode for tweet threads, bookmarks folders, the ability to theme your Twitter app and app icon, and, as of last month, a Labs program that lets members try out select new Twitter features early, was also part of the first launch.
But as part of Tuesday’s growth, Twitter Blue will become significantly more helpful for news junkies. One function removes advertisements from select websites, with the resulting revenue shared between Twitter and the websites in question. If you are a Twitter Blue subscriber, you will see an “Ad-free with Twitter Blue” mark beneath the title of each item from a publication that offers ad-free content.
In October, Twitter announced that Scroll, a service that provided similar capabilities, would be included in Twitter Blue. The initiative has over 300 US-based media partners, including The Washington Post, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, The Hollywood Reporter, and, full disclosure, The Verge.
The firm has expressed future ambitions to broaden its coverage to international periodicals. And Twitter claims that its payout to publishers remains the same whether you access Twitter via iOS or Android and subscribe to Twitter Blue, which takes a part of digital purchases.
Twitter notes that even if you are a Twitter Blue member, you will not be able to access some articles since the ad-free articles feature does not allow you to bypass paywalls. Unfortunately, ad-free articles are not yet accessible on Android, and the company has not provided an estimated release date for this feature.
Unfortunately, even if you pay for Twitter Blue, you’ll still see advertising, and you shouldn’t expect an ad-free stream any time soon, if ever. In a recent conference, Twitter’s senior director of product Sara Beykpour remarked, “We are not currently considering a Twitter ads-free product.”
In addition to the return of ad-free articles, Twitter Blue will also have a Nuzzel-like roundup of the most-shared articles from the people you follow called Top Articles, which is updated daily. As part of its acquisition of Scroll, Twitter wound down Nuzzel, but it promised to incorporate the service’s “essential aspects” into its own platform at a later date.
We won’t be sending out a digest of the web’s best writing through email like Nuzzel used to. Instead, you’ll use Twitter itself to get to it, though at the moment that means only Android and the web. The iOS version, according to Twitter, is coming “very soon.”
Users who have upgraded to Twitter Blue will also be able to rearrange the icons in the app’s navigation bar to make the features they use most frequently quick-access pins. At first, iOS users will be the only ones able to personalize their apps with a navigation bar that fits their needs and a theme that suits their tastes.
In the United States, a monthly subscription to Twitter Blue costs $2.99. (or an equivalent price in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand). Although I would prefer an ad-free experience and dislike that some functions are not consistent across platforms, I am willing to give it a month’s trial to see if it meets my needs.