Twitter Had Plans to Build an… OnlyFans Competitor →

Zoe Schiffer and Casey Newton have published an in-depth piece at The Verge that dives into a plan Twitter was working on to become more profitable:

In the spring of 2022, Twitter considered making a radical change to the platform. After years of quietly allowing adult content on the service, the company would monetize it. The proposal: give adult content creators the ability to begin selling OnlyFans-style paid subscriptions, with Twitter keeping a share of the revenue.

Had the project been approved, Twitter would have risked a massive backlash from advertisers, who generate the vast majority of the company’s revenues. But the service could have generated more than enough to compensate for losses. OnlyFans, the most popular by far of the adult creator sites, is projecting $2.5 billion in revenue this year — about half of Twitter’s 2021 revenue — and is already a profitable company.

According to the article, Twitter was pretty far down this road, but the project hit a wall when a team of 84 employees dubbed the “Red Team” made a discovery:

“Twitter cannot accurately detect child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity at scale,” the Red Team concluded in April 2022. The company also lacked tools to verify that creators and consumers of adult content were of legal age, the team found. As a result, in May — weeks after Elon Musk agreed to purchase the company for $44 billion — the company delayed the project indefinitely. If Twitter couldn’t consistently remove child sexual exploitative content on the platform today, how would it even begin to monetize porn?

It is horrific to read how bad Twitter is at detecting CSE. Whoever has been charge of that at the company should be fired, with real experts bought in.

Beyond that, it is just wild to think that Twitter was exploring launching an adult content service in the first place. I imagine it would have upset a sizable portion of their user base and would have created issues with companies like Apple who famously doesn’t allow content like this on the App Store.

I’m starting to think the folks who make up Twitter’s leadership are not very good at their jobs.