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After a short run, Twitter ‘coins’ and tipping appear to be ending

The news: Twitter may be phasing out its “coins” and tipping features, according to reporting from The Information. It’s unclear if Twitter is abandoning the features or if they’re simply broken—the company’s latest wave of layoffs included employees leading creator economy efforts—but many report being unable to activate either feature on their profiles.

The creator economy miss: Even before Elon Musk’s takeover, creators and power users didn’t come to Twitter because of its money-making potential—they came for influence and reach.

  • Reward for being a power user on Twitter is extrinsic, resulting in greater readership, fandom, or professional opportunities. Twitter has never given users an intrinsic reason to invest in the platform via payment methods like creator funds or tipping features until very recently.
  • When Musk took over, one of his first goals for the platform was to give creators payouts that rivaled those on YouTube and other competitors. “Coins” was one of Musk’s attempts to deliver on that, but it seems to have been largely unsuccessful. On the other hand, other efforts to pay creators via newsletters and paid access to audio rooms have also met the chopping block.
  • But Musk hasn’t given up on the creator economy quite yet: He recently announced an intent to share ad revenue with power users subscribed to Twitter Blue (meaning you’d have to pay Twitter in order to see any money), but over a month later the feature was nowhere to be found.

Our take: Twitter’s perennial struggle with rewarding top users is just one facet of many that’s put it far behind other platforms in capturing digital advertising spending. Similarly, the mystery around whether features are broken or abandoned is just one more question mark in a ceaseless series of baffling decisions that have sent Twitter’s ad revenues into the ground.